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Joe Flaherty remembers the great Russian Poet, Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the great Russian Poet, died on April 1. He made an appearance at Writers & Books in the early 1990’s.
 
From Writers & Books founder Joe Flaherty:
 
“I knew about Yevgeny Yevtushenko and had heard about his reputation for being able to fill entire soccer stadiums in his native Russia for his poetry readings. He made occasional tours of the U.S. so when I found out he would be once more coming to America I jumped at the chance to get him here, and, unbelievably, he agreed to come! We booked the Nazareth College Arts Center for his appearance, knowing of his popularity, and filled its 1200 seats to the brim. Wandering through the lobby prior to the reading I heard a lot of Russian spoken, along with the usual English speakers.
 
Though he was fluent in English he had a translator with him so that he would be able to recite his poems in his native tongue. The highlight of the evening was his reading of his most famous poem, Babi Yar. He first read the poem line by line in Russian, alternating with the translator who would read each line in English. After that was completed, he read the entire poem in Russian, so we knew what it meant but could hear its entirety in his powerful native tongue. It was an unforgettable, electrifying experience. I urge everyone to look up the poem online and hear how powerful a poetry reading can be…”
 
For your ears: https://youtu.be/rJEGrgdGzPE

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