Yevgeny Yevtushenko Poetry: World Poets Analysis
Although not the most original poet of the post-Stalinist era in the Soviet Union, Yevgeny Yevtushenko has shown himself to be one of the most significant. This is essentially because he has been able to put his finger on the pulse of the times. He became the spokesperson for a new generation, not only in his native land but also all over the world. Unflinchingly honest and sincere, he has spoken with clarity and courage on issues that threaten freedom. He is best known for his poems of protest such as “Babii Yar” and “Stalin’s Heirs.” In the tradition of Russian poetry, Yevtushensko sees himself invested with a mission and a message, and he proclaims it fearlessly. He directs his criticism not only against the cult of personality, anti-Semitism, and oppression in his own land, but also against the same abuses in other countries, especially in the United States. Images of Martin Luther King, Jr., John and Robert Kennedy, and Allison Krause of Kent State University appeared in his work in the 1970’s; the perils of television and advertising, war in Northern Ireland, and the threat of nuclear weapons in poems of the late 1970’s. “Freedom to Kill,” “Flowers and Bullets,” and “Safari in Ulster,” among others, explore these themes.
Yevtushenko knows how to combine the social with the personal and how to move effortlessly from one to the other. His poetry is extremely autobiographical, and one can read his life by exploring his verse....
(The entire section is 4720 words.)
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