Yevtushenko, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Yevtushenko, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich

Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko (yĕv´tōōshĕng´kō, Rus. yĬvgā´nyē əlyĬksän´drəvĬch yĬvtəshĕn´kō), 1933–, Russian poet, b. Zima. Along with Andrei Voznesensky and several others he helped revive the tradition of Russian lyric poetry. Yevtushenko's first book of poems was published in 1952. He soon became the most popular spokesman of the young generation of poets who refused to adhere to the doctrine of socialist realism. Yevtushenko: Selected Poems (1962) contains four of his most famous poems: "Talk," an indictment of Soviet hypocrisy, "Babi Yar," protesting Soviet anti-Semitism, "Zima Junction," an autobiographical work, and "The Heirs of Stalin," a denunciation of the Soviet system. His long poems include The Bratsk Station (1964–65) and Kazan University (1970). His Collected Poems, 1952–1990 appeared in 1991. The publication in Paris of Yevtushenko's Precocious Autobiography (1963) brought him severe official censure, and he was frequently criticized by the Russian government for his nonconformist attitude. Despite this, he made several reading tours abroad during the Soviet era. He has also written novels, notably Wild Berries (tr. 1984), essays, and the semiautobiographical, post-Soviet work Don't Die Before You're Dead (tr. 1995), an account of the 1991 triumph of Boris Yeltsin (Yevtushenko served in the Soviet parliament from 1988 to 1991). In addition, he is an actor, director, and photographer. His name is sometimes transliterated Evtushenko.

See The Collected Poems, 1952–1990 (1991).

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