Charles Reznikoff

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Charles Reznikoff
Born(1894-08-31)August 31, 1894
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 22, 1976(1976-01-22) (aged 81)
New York, New York, U.S.
OccupationPoet
Period1918–1976
Literary movementModernism
SpouseMarie Syrkin (m. 1930–1976)


Charles Reznikoff (August 31, 1894 – January 22, 1976) was an American poet.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York and lived in New York City for most of his life.[1] His parents were immigrants, refugees from anti-Jewish violence in the Russian Empire. His father was a hat-maker.[2]

In 1912 he entered the New York University School of Law and practiced law briefly after graduating in 1915.[2] He tried some jobs, but writing poetry was his main interest. He was influenced by the work of Ezra Pound and other modernist writers.[1]

In the beginning, Reznikoff printed most of his own books. He was not well known as a poet until the 1950s. Then he was connected to a group of poets that were called "Objectivists".[3] Louis Zukofsky included one of his poems in the February 1931 edition of Poetry magazine.[4] His poems were known for their direct language. The poems did not focus on symbols or emotions. They stressed seeing and knowing what was in the outer world. They had "an almost documentary or photographic effect."[1] His long poems Testimony and Holocaust used court records about racial injustice in the United States and the Nazi murders of Jewish people.[2]


Books[change | change source]

  • Rhythms I and II (1918, 1919)
  • Nine Plays (1927)
  • By the Waters of Manhattan (1930)
  • Testimony (1934)
  • Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down (1941)
  • The Lionhearted: A Story about the Jews in Medieval England (1944)
  • Family Chronicle: An Odyssey from Russia to America (1963)
  • The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff, 1918-1975 (1976-77)
  • The Manner "Music" (1977)
  • Holocaust (1977)
  • Testimony: The United States (1885-1915) (1978-79)

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Heller, Michael (1996). "Reznikoff, Charles". Oxford Reference - The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English. Retrieved January 14, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Charles Reznikoff". Poetry Foundation. January 15, 2023. Retrieved January 15, 2023.
  3. "About Charles Reznikoff | Academy of American Poets". poets.org. Retrieved January 15, 2023.
  4. "A Group of Verse by Charles Reznikoff". Poetry Magazine. January 24, 2023. Retrieved January 25, 2023.