Poet Ryhor Krushyna
Born near Slucak, Belarus, on
December 3, 1907, Ryhor Krushyna [pseud. of Ryhor Kazak] was the first
Belarusian writer-poet to become a member of the International PEN Club in 1966.
Before that achievement, the poet had to leave his homeland, endure life
in forced labor camps in Germany during the war, and to become a displaced
person in post-war Europe prior to coming to the United States.
In the early 1920s, he and his
older brother, Mikola, participated as teenagers
in the Sluck Uprising against the Bolshevik regime led by Juri Listapad.
Because of his age, the newly founded Soviet regime did not pursue his
conviction. One poem, “Paustan’!”
[“Rebel!”] which he published in his underground newsletter and is
ascribed to his brother (under the pseudonym Maly Jazep), has been preserved.
Later he joined the literary
avant-garde movement “Maladnjak,” which was soon disbanded by the
government. Ultimately, his poetic
talent was muzzled and he had to write “for the desk drawer,” which was the
common saying then for works by politically unacceptable and unpublished poets
During WWII he was able to come to
the West, and this is where the poet’s activity and his fame as Ryhor Krushyna
began. Starting with his first book
of poetry, The Black Swan, which
symbolized through this metaphor the life of an émigré, he created another six
additional books during his lifetime; two works were posthumously published in
Belarus after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
He has also translated from the Polish, German, Russian, and Ukrainian.
He was among the first founders of the Belarusian Institute of the
Sciences and Art in North America.
Truly innovative, Krushyna was first to introduce the concept of hyper-dactylic rhyme in Belarusian
poetry. He could easily write verse
with all the words starting with the same letter, was able to have inter-rhyme
capability of all stanzas up to twenty, could write verse that was read from
front and back (palindromes), and was a forerunner in and experimented with
haiku, canzone, sextain and other forms, which were only later picked up by
Belarusian poets. His poetry is
lyrical and universal, yet it is alive with the Belarusian spirit and love for
his Homeland. His poetry is imbued
with a tender and all encompassing love for a tortured land and its suffering
chornaja [ The Black Swan] (Regensburg, Germany: Pahonja, 1947); Vybranyja tvory [Selected
Works] (New York-Munich: Verlag Backauscyna, 1957); Vjacornaja liryka [Evening Lyrics] (New York-Munich: Vydan’ne
autara, 1963); Hvilina rozdumu [A Moment of Reflection] (New York-Munich: np,1968);
Vjasna uvosen’ [Springtime in Autumn] (New York-Munich, np, 1972);
Darohi [The Ways] (New York-Munich: np, 1974); Sny
i mary [Dreams and Reveries]
(New York-Munich: Logos, 1975); Cymbalist [Cymbalist]
(Minsk: Belaruski knihazbor, 2003); and Vybranyja
tvory [Selected Works] (Minsk: Belaruski knihazbor, 2005), and the
Centennial Edition: Kantata
samotnych [Cantata of the
Lonely] (Minsk: 2007).
The centennial of the poet will be marked by publishing a new book of his poems. The book should be out on December 10, 2007. Below is the cover of the book:
English language translations by Vera Rich, a British poet and scholar, and his son, Ihar Kazak, are currently in progress. Please see some translations sent by the son of the poet Ihar Kazak to us below:
Ня сьпі, мой любы селянін!
Паўстань супроць чужой улады!
Паўстаньне - сродак твой адзін,
Ты роднай Бацькаўшчыны сын,
Сваіх ня згубіш пуцявін,
Дык не шукай чужых спагады!
За зброю! Бі! Хай гінуць гады!
Паўстань! Ня бойся і ня трусь!
Ратуйма нашу Беларусь!
me, Lord, health and strength,
Give our people a rich harvest,
our loved ones and kin,
I do believe: such an hour will come
Дай мне, Божа, здароўя і сілы,
Дай прыгожай вясны Беларусі.
Хай ня ные душа да магілы
У пакутнай самоце і скрусе.
FRONT OF A MIRROR
laughter, cap askew,
else’s image unappealing shows,
necktie, not too plain,
me back that former mirror!
of Ryhor Krushyna’s
іншы ў шкле
the spectrum wide with intuition
colors gamut and its play,
see it all, I feel it all,
instance, take such a word for taste
though are straining words as castor oil,
you do enrich so much
Шырокім спэктрам вычуваньня
Цябе я, слова, пазнаю.
I смак, і пах, і гукаў граньне,
I радасьць творчую маю,
I розных хварбаў пералівы,
I маладосьці эліксір,
I залатыя нашы нівы,
I жар, і неспакойны вір --
Я ўсё тут бачу, адчуваю,
Ствараю словам навіну.
Я чую голас майго краю,
Жывых эмоцыяў вайну.
Узяць на смак, напрыклад, слова
Такое горкае -- «палын».
Здаецца, вуліцай вясковай
Настой травы паўзе паўз тын.
А нехта цэдзіць слоў рыцыну.
Ды ёсьць салодкія, як мёд...
Цябе я, слова, не пакіну, --
Люблю я твой крылаты ўзьлёт:
Ты падымаеш чалавека
I ў сьвет загадваеш ісьці.
Ты лечыш хворага спрадвеку,
Б'еш злога ворага ў жыцьці.
I зьзяеш яснай бліскавіцай,
I вееш цёплаю вясной...
Вянком па сьмерці будзеш віцца,
Гарэць агнём, жыцьцём і мной.
so happy to meet with you,
one sings to me very calmly
laugh with her, and am sad,
April 24, 1944
you’re in love—
where debauchery there is—
placed a ladder and upwards I climbed
December 26, 1976
Other web references:
Radio Freedom 2
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