Tikkun Olam & Other Poems

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Tikkun Olam & Other Poems
Cover of the second English edition
Author(s) Leo Yankevich
Cover artist Kevin I. Slaughter
Country USA
Language English
Genre(s) Poetry
Publisher Counter-Currents Publishing Ltd.
Publication year 2012
Pages 94
ISBN 978-1-935965-37-4

Tikkun Olam & Other Poems, Second, Expanded Edition is a 94 page collection of poems written by North-American poet Leo Yankevich published by editor Greg Johnson at his publishing house Counter-Currents Publishing in a new, expanded second edition of 2012. The foreword is written by E. M. Schorb. Yankevich has written several collections of poems earlier and is a poet with a strong Internet presence. The background of the poet has been decisive for his way of writing poetry and not to mention his subjects, as he grew up in a Catholic Irish-Polish family in the USA, before he as part of his studies moved to the still Communist Poland in the 1980's, which was to become his new home for good. His poems to a large degree center on a East-European experience of life under Communism from its beginning in 1917 and until present day, and is a rallying cry to the effect that also these victims deserve being remembered. His poems' critical and traditional Catholic perspective is prevalent throughout the entire collection, if concerning the horrible murders of Tsar Nikolai II and his family by Jewish-born Bolsheviks, or the invasion of Iraq by the US-led forces more recently.

From the inside covers

"Leo Yankevich’s Tikkun Olam is both devastating and heroic. The poems devastate with their unflinching depiction of the horror of the last one hundred years—the murders, the political lies, the cultural debasement, the degradation of European identity—and at the same time they are heroic in their open accusation of the force that ultimately lies behind it all: the insidious, self-serving impulse to “mend the world” in accordance with an anti-Western agenda. Yankevich’s book is unsparing in its vividness, but difficult to put down. He bravely directs our gaze at the infection that is killing us, and he does not allow us the comfortable option of turning away in forgetfulness." — Joseph S. Salemi, Editor, Trinacria

“Leo Yankevich’s rich formalist poetry sings while it mourns. His poems bring us face to face with powerful and provocative images from more than one of those darkest of modern times–times when a terrible inhumanity was unleashed upon a culture, a folk, a Heimat. In tones both eloquent and raw, it asks of its readers no more and no less than what is regarded as the sacred duty of all those who survive: Remember. Do not let this be forgotten. This too happened. Yankevich, like Percy Shelley and Roy Campbell before him, is a courageously outspoken poet, and one who is destined to be remembered as an important classic long after his politically-correct contemporaries have forever fallen out of popular, and poetic, favor.” — Juleigh Howard-Hobson, author of Somer & Other Poems

About the author

Leo Yankevich was born into a family of Roman Catholic Irish-Polish immigrants on October 30, 1961. He grew up and attended high school in Farrell, Penn., a small steel town in the Rust Belt of middle America. He then studied History and Polish at Alliance College, Cambridge Springs, PA, receiving a BA in 1984. Later that year he traveled to Poland to begin graduate study at the centuries-old Jagiellonian University in Krakow. A staunch anticommunist, he played an active role in the dissident movement in that country, and was arrested and beaten badly on a few occasions by the communist security forces. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, he decided to settle permanently in Poland. Since that time he has lived in Gliwice (Gleiwitz), an industrial city in Upper Silesia. His books include The Unfinished Crusade, The Last Silesian, The Language of Birds, Grief's Herbs (after Stanislaw Grochowiak), The Gnosis of Gnomes, Epistle from the Dark, and The Golem of Gleiwitz. His website is http://leoyankevich.com/.

Said of the book

“Reading the powerful, ironic poems in Tikkun Olam—Hebrew for “the mending of the world”—in this new enlarged edition, visions of Goya’s Disasters of War come to mind.

“Leo Yankevich wants the truth—wants it out—and uses all his considerable power as a poet to get it out, bitter and bittersweet. “Those who do not know history are doomed to re-live it,” said, I believe, Santayana. Yankevich wants us to know history, so that we need not re-live it. Is this a futile dream? But someone must do something to halt or at least to slow our simian march to doom, and Yankevich does what he can in this dark true book.

“The murderous testosterone-drugged alpha-males portrayed in Tikkun Olam are not utter monsters. They are humans—husbands, sons, and brothers. They are us, or parts of us, and it is their residual humanity that is horrifying.

“This is especially clear when Yankevich takes on infamously unattractive personalities and manages to find in them the germ of humanity that is just alive enough to make stark and painful how much of their humanity has been cast off. His portrait of Rudolf Hess comes to mind. I think, too, of those menders of the world who begin their mending with the murders of the Czar, his wife and children.

“Tikkun Olam is filled with characters—human, all too human, not quite human, alive and suffering in their various tragedies—brought painfully and beautifully to life by Leo Yankevich.”— E. M. Schorb


  • Part One
  • 1. Tikkun Olam 5
  • 2. Moscow, 1928 6
  • 3. Holodomor, 1932–33 7
  • 4. Red Star, 1933 8
  • 5. Barcelona, 1936 9
  • 6. Naftaly Aronovich Frenkel 10
  • 7. Kolyma, 1937 13
  • 8. Lorca’s Death 14
  • Part Two
  • 9. Neighbors, Eastern Poland, 1940 17
  • 10. December, 1942 18
  • 11. Vengeance is Mine, Says the Lord, 1943 20
  • 12. With Blood on his Hands, Commissar Y. Raichman Ponders the Forest of the Dead at Katyn, 1943 21
  • 13. Koniuchy, Eastern Poland, 1944 22
  • 14. Saint Bartholomew’s Church 23
  • 15. Gleiwitz, 1945 25
  • 16. Somewhere over Germany, 1945 26
  • 17. Veteran’s Hospital 27
  • Part Three
  • 18. After the Expulsions 31
  • 19. Ezra Pound Enters the Tent 32
  • 20. Dissident, 1962 33
  • 21. Poland, New Year’s Day, 1982 34
  • 22. A Hater Learns About Love 35
  • 23. The Loneliest Man 36
  • 24. The Death of Communism 38
  • 25. Bukovina, 1989 41
  • Part Four
  • 26. Sarajevo Sonnet 43
  • 27. Draza Bregovich 44
  • 28. Epiphany 45
  • 29. Elegy 46
  • 30. Butugychag 47
  • 31. Gulag Burial Marker 48
  • 32. The Abandoned Station 49
  • 33. The Last Silesian 50
  • 34. An Interview with the Oldest Man In Europe 51
  • 35. The Łemko Steeple 52
  • 36. Starless 53
  • Part Five
  • 37. A Plurality of Worlds 57
  • 38. Water 58
  • 39. The Poet of 1912 59
  • 40. Anonymous Rex 60
  • 41. How to Get There 61
  • Part Six
  • 42. Spreading Democracy 65
  • 43. Jenin, 2002 67
  • 44. The Terrorist 68
  • 45. After the Old Masters 69
  • 46. No Flowers, No Doves 70
  • 47. Two Dates 71
  • 48. On the Beheading of Eugene Olin Armstrong 72
  • 49. The July Sun over Lebanon 73
  • 50. On the Lynching of Saddam Hussein 74
  • 51. Black Ops 76

Part Seven

  • 52. A Warning to Dissidents 79
  • 53. Halloween, 2006 80
  • 54. The Condemned House 81
  • 55. Understanding the Holocaust 82
  • 56. Vision 83
  • 57. Monomatapa on the Detroit River 84


  • 58. Epilogue 87
  • About the Author 89

Publication data

Tikkun Olam & Other Poems, Second, Expanded Edition, Leo Yankevich, 2012, Counter-Currents Publishing, ISBN 978-1-935965-37-4


External links