Yevgeny Yevtushenko Additional Biography


(World Poets and Poetry)

Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko was born in Stantsiya Zima, Siberia, in the Soviet Union, on July 18, 1933, of mixed Ukrainian, Russian, and Tartar blood. In his famous poem “Stantsia Zima” (“Zima Junction”), he describes in detail this remote Siberian town on the Trans-Siberian Railway about two hundred miles from Irkutsk and not far from Lake Baikal. Both his grandfathers were victims of Stalinist purges, a fact that helps to explain Yevtushenko’s attitude toward Stalin. Yevtushenko’s father was a geologist, and between the ages of fifteen and seventeen, young Zhenya, as he was familiarly called, accompanied his father on geological expeditions to Kazakhstan and the Altai. His mother, of modest peasant stock, worked as a singer in Moscow during and after the war. His parents’ careers gave Yevtushenko a broad appreciation for common working people and the day-to-day struggles to survive in an authoritarian state.

As a young boy in Moscow, Yevtushenko began to read Russian and foreign classics, familiarizing himself not only with the works of Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, but also those of Alexandre Dumas, père, Gustave Flaubert, Friedrich Schiller, Honoré de Balzac, Dante, and many other foreign authors. In 1941, he was evacuated to Zima Junction, where he developed his love for the Siberian taiga and his impassioned opposition to war. When his parents were separated in 1944, he returned to Moscow with his mother. His education from 1944 to 1948 was very desultory, and when he was expelled from school at fifteen, he ran off to join his father in Siberia for two years.

Among Yevtushenko’s many interests was sports, and it was not accidental that his first verses were published in a sports magazine. He met the editors Tarasov and Barlas, who became his first mentors, although his continued interest in reading led him to other models, especially Ernest Hemingway, Aleksandr Blok, Sergei Esenin, andVladimir Mayakovsky. Yevtushenko wrote in the style of the times, paying lip service to Stalin until the latter’s death in 1953.

The year 1953 was a turning point in Yevtushenko’s life, for along with many other Russians,...

(The entire section is 887 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko (yehv-tew-SHEHNG-koh) was born on July 18, 1933, at Stantsiya Zima, a small Siberian junction near Lake Baikal, in the Soviet Union (now in Russia). Some of his ancestors had been deported to Siberia from Ukraine at the end of the nineteenth century for political activities. Other relatives came from Latvia. “Revolution was the religion in our family,” Yevtushenko says in his autobiography. He spent his childhood amid the serene beauty of Siberian nature but also troubled by political uncertainty: Both of his grandfathers were swept away during the purges ordered by Joseph Stalin in the late 1930’s. His parents studied geology in Moscow, married, and were divorced before World War II. His mother took Yevtushenko to Moscow, but he was evacuated to Zima during the war, where he spent three years.

Back in Moscow, growing up in postwar hardship, he was belligerent and was even thrown out of one school. He surmounted the difficulties, however, and even began to write poetry. For a while, he joined his father in a geological expedition in Kazakhstan and later almost became a professional soccer player. After publishing his first poem in 1949, appropriately in Soviet Sport, he concentrated on literature and entered the famous Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow. From the beginning of the 1950’s, he published his poems with increasing success. The publication of his first book, Razvedchicki gryadushchego (1952; prospectors of the future), decided his fate: He devoted his life to poetry and published numerous books with regularity.

The emotional appeal of his poetry and his innate boldness made him a leader among the new Russian poets eager to assert themselves. Together with other...

(The entire section is 719 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Yevgeny Yevtushenko started his poetic career in a modern idiom, aware that he was helping to bring something new to Russian poetry and that the torch had been passed to a new generation. As he matured, he became increasingly involved in political matters or matters that he believed deserved personal commitment. In this, he played the traditional role of a Russian poet as the conscience of the nation. At the same time, he never compromised his artistic standards to the point of becoming a spokesman for nonliterary causes, of which he has often been accused. It is indeed his artistic qualities that have made him a leading poet in twentieth century Russian literature.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko (yehv-tew-SHEHNG-koh) is considered, with Andrey Voznesensky, among the best representatives of the generation of Russian poets after Stalin’s death. He was born at Zima Station, a small Siberian junction near Lake Baika. His ancestors had been deported from Ukraine for political reasons. He spent his childhood surrounded by beautiful Siberian nature but also amid political uncertainty: Both of his grandfathers were purged in the late 1930’s. After World War II his mother took him to Moscow, where he began to write poetry and almost became a professional soccer player. He published his first poem in 1949, then entered the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow and, after publishing his first...

(The entire section is 846 words.)