Voices from Russia

Friday, 9 October 2015

Lugansk Poet Yelena Zaslavskaya Won Sergei Yesenin International Literary Award

00 yelena zaslavnaya russian poet lugansk 091015


Lugansk poet Yelena Zaslavskaya won the “О Русь, взмахни крылами…” (“O Russia, Spread Thy Wings …”) Sergei Yesenin International Literary Award for her collection Год войны (A Year of War). She told us:

On the eve of the 120th anniversary of Yesenin’s birth, the official award ceremony took place in Moscow. I was amongst the winners in the category “Слово Победы” (Victory Words) for my collection Год войны (A Year of War), which included poems written in 2014-15. In this category, there were 160 submissions. I received the Золотая осень (Golden Autumn) award… I’ll do my best to live up to it.

The Writers’ Union of Russia and the National Endowment for Culture and Tourism established the Sergei Yesenin all-Russian Literary Award in 2005, since 2010, it’s been an international distinction. The “О Русь, взмахни крылами…” (“O Russia, Spread Thy Wings …”) competition occurs biannually, awarding prizes in several categories. Its purpose is to identify the most original and brilliant poetry, critical works on Russian poetry, and popular song-writing, to engage readers and stimulate public interest in Russian poetry. It also wants to enhance the prestige of Russian literature, to augment its social significance and its role in developing society and individuals. The Union of Writers of Russia, the Moscow City Organisation of the Writers’ Union of Russia, the RF Gosduma, the RF Federation Council, and many other official bodies in the Russian Federation support this award.

Yelena Zaslavskaya graduated from gimnaziya in Lisichansk, with a major in humanities and aesthetics; she has a diploma in physics and mathematics from the Taras Shevchenko Lugansk National University. She studied “project management” at the Matusovsky Lugansk Academy of Culture and Arts. Zaslavskaya worked as a journalist in local television, newspapers, and internet publications. She wrote three collections of poetry (Эпоха моей любви (The Era of My Love), Мамині сльози (Mama’s Tears), and Инстинкт Свободы (Instinct of Freedom)), along with numerous publications in poetry anthologies, online publications, and literary periodicals. Now, she lives and works in Lugansk and is a member of the LNR Writers’ Union.

8 October 2015

LITs Lugansk Information Centre


Click here for her webpage and click here for her Facebook page

Saturday, 30 May 2015

30 May 2015. S A Yesenin… Our 20th Century Bard

00 Sergei  Yesenin and Transfiguration Church. Ryazan. Russia. 28.04.15


00 mother russia. 30.05.15


S A Yesenin was, perhaps, one of the most popular and beloved poets of the 20th century. He killed himself at age 30… a very dramatic end to a rather tempestuous life. However, he’s one of the greats of the 20th century. All Russians know his farewell poem, at least (the second one above). He’s more popular with ordinary people than he is with the intelligentsia. He’s well-worth knowing…


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Mayakovsky Still One of Russia’s Most Popular Poets

00 We want peace, but if you provoke us... Mayakovsky. 20.07.13

“We want peace, but if you provoke us…”


According to a new poll by the Levada Centre published Thursday, a day before the poet’s 120th birthday, 120 after his birth and 83 years after his suicide, literary rebel-cum-Communist Vladimir Mayakovsky remains one of modern Russia’s most popular poets. The results show that he’s the second-most-popular Russian poet of the 20th century. The Levada poll was held in late June and surveyed 1,601 respondents. It had a margin-of-error of 3.4 percentage points.

Generations of Soviet school-kids memorised his lines about the eternal glory of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, or the pride of owning a Soviet passport… along with litanies of Communist utopia and a didactic sermon about the good and the bad, addressed to an imaginary “baby son” the poet never had. However, there was another Mayakovsky… a rejected, heartbroken, and suicidal lover, who was also an arrogant nihilist, whose rebellious, exquisitely-rhyming lines might fit a modern heavy metal anthem or rap tune. He committed suicide in 1930, after the end of a not-entirely monogamous relationship with Jewish Communist Lilya Brik, and increasing disillusionment with Communist dogma. Only Sergei Yesenin, the hard-drinking bard of the Russian countryside, who killed himself five years prior to Mayakovsky’s suicide, exceeds his popularity. Vladimir Vysotsky, the actor and folk singer who died in 1980, came third in the list.

Prior to Mayakovsky’s birthday, a national television channel showed a somewhat glamorised mini-series about his life and love, and people held readings of his poems throughout Russia. Although Mayakovsky’s suicide was widely seen as a symbol of the Soviet intelligentsia’s falling-out with the Communist régime, a cult began around him right after his death. Communist leader Iosif Stalin, who dabbled in poetry in his youth and studied theology before becoming a full-time Marxist revolutionary, turned the iconoclastic poet into an icon. Dubbed “Nr 1 Proletarian Poet”, he became omnipresent on bookshelves and city squares, his statues mushroomed all over the USSR, and his works published in the tens of millions. Mayakovsky was widely translated into European languages and was popular among Western leftist intellectuals. American poet Frank O’Hara wrote a poem about him, and British singer Billy Bragg recorded an album named after one of his works entitled Talking with the Taxman about Poetry.

19 July 2013



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