Yevgeny Yevtushenko

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search
In any man who dies there dies with him,
his first snow and kiss and fight.

Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko (born 18 July 1933) is a controversial Russian poet and film director. During the Soviet era he spoke out publicly against Stalinism and rejected socialist realism, but was himself criticised by many Soviet dissidents.

Quotes[edit]

No people are uninteresting.
Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.
Why is it that right-wing bastards always stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, while liberals fall out among themselves?
  • The hell with it. Who never knew
    the price of happiness will not be happy.
    • "Lies" (1952), line 11; Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (trans.) Selected Poems (London: Penguin, 2008) p. 52.
  • So on and on
    we walked without thinking of rest
    passing craters, passing fire,
    under the rocking sky of '41
    tottering crazy on its smoking columns.
    • "The Companion" (1954), line 45; Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (trans.) Selected Poems (London: Penguin, 2008) p. 58.
  • Give me a mystery – just a plain and simple one – a mystery which is diffidence and silence, a slim little, barefoot mystery: give me a mystery – just one!
    • "Mysteries" (1960), st. 10; Dimitri Obolensky (ed.) The Heritage of Russian Verse (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976) p. 452.
  • Over Babiy Yar
    there are no memorials.
    The steep hillside like a rough inscription.
    I am frightened.
    Today I am as old as the Jewish race.
    • "Babiy Yar" (1961), line 1; Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (trans.) Selected Poems (London: Penguin, 2008) p. 82.
  • No Jewish blood runs among my blood,
    but I am as bitterly and hardly hated
    by every anti-semite
    as if I were a Jew. By this
    I am a Russian.
    • "Babiy Yar" (1961), line 58; Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (trans.) Selected Poems (London: Penguin, 2008) pp. 83-4.
  • No people are uninteresting.
    Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.
    Nothing in them is not particular,
    and planet is dissimilar from planet.
    • "People" (1961), line 1; Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (trans.) Selected Poems (London: Penguin, 2008) p. 85.
  • И если умирает человек,
    с ним умирает первый его снег,
    и первый поцелуй, и первый бой...
    • In any man who dies there dies with him,
      his first snow and kiss and fight.
    • "People" (1961), line 12; Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (trans.) Selected Poems (London: Penguin, 2008) p. 85.
  • A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else can be only a footnote.
    • Andrew R. MacAndrew (trans.) A Precocious Autobiography (1963; repr. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965) p. 7.
  • In general, in poetry and literature, I am among those people who believe that too much is indispensable.
    • New York Times (2 February 1986)
  • [I] do not like poems that resemble hay compressed into a geometrically perfect cube. I like it when the hay, unkempt, uncombed, with dry berries mixed in it, thrown together gaily and freely, bounces along atop some truck—and more, if there are some lovely and healthy lasses atop the hay—and better yet if the branches catch at the hay, and some of it tumbles to the road.
    • New York Times (2 February 1986)
  • Why is it that right-wing bastards always stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, while liberals fall out among themselves?
    • The Observer (15 December 1991)

Criticism[edit]

  • My dear friend Yevtushenko has, I claim, an ego that can crack crystal at a distance of twenty feet.
    • John Cheever, in George Plimpton (ed.) Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, Fifth Series (New York: Penguin, 1981) p. 121.
  • He has a clear style and has had much courage – as in his poem "Babi Yar", a memorial to the Jews murdered by the Nazis. But he is no more than a talented poetaster – which is quite obvious to all but Western journalists – and it would be foolish to consider him as more than a skilful publicist.
  • I was overjoyed when I read Yevtushenko's "Babi Yar"; the poem astounded me. It astounded thousands of people…People knew about Babi Yar before Yevtushenko's poem, but they were silent. And when they read the poem, the silence was broken. Art destroys silence.

External links[edit]