GREENBERG, SAMUEL BERNARD


GREENBERG, SAMUEL BERNARD
GREENBERG, SAMUEL BERNARD (1893–1917), U.S. poet. Born in Vienna, Greenberg was taken to the U.S. in 1900; after a poverty-stricken life in New York City's ghetto he died from tuberculosis at the age of 24. Self-taught except for a few years in elementary school, he displayed remarkable precocity and power as a poet and was also a gifted artist. Influenced primarily by the American writers Emerson and Thoreau and by the English poets Keats, Shelley, and Browning, Greenberg wrote mystical poetry filled with vivid and strange imagery. His imperfect command of English grammar and vocabulary give his verse an unusual, surrealistic tone characteristic of some of the most sophisticated modernist poetry of the early 20th century. Greenberg might have remained unknown had not Hart Crane, the American poet, discovered his manuscripts in 1923. The poems had a profound effect on Crane and eventually, more than 20 years after Greenberg's death, a first selection (Poems from the Greenberg Manuscripts, 1939) was published, which helped to establish his important place in American literary history. A second selection, Poems by Samuel Greenberg, was published in 1947. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Simon, Samuel Greenberg, Hart Crane, and the Lost Manuscripts (1978). (Brom Weber)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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