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April 2, 2004

Russian Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko to Read at the Library of Congress On April 29

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the famous Russian poet, will recite his poetry in both English and Russian in a program titled "There Are No Years" at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, in the Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, sponsored by the Library's Poetry and Literature Center, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Yevtushenko is a poet, novelist, filmmaker and professor of literature and cinema. He was born in Siberia, where his ancestors were sent into exile at the end of the 19th century. A spokesman for greater artistic freedom in the Soviet Union, Yevtushenko was once referred to as "the head of the intellectual juvenile delinquents" and was expelled from school for disobedience in 1948 and in 1957 from the Literary Institute for "individualism."

In 1960, he was the first poet from post-Stalinist Russia to read his work in the West, and in 1966 he read his poetry at the Library of Congress. His 1961 poem "Babi Yar," a denunciation of both Nazi and Russian anti-Semitism, brought him international recognition and inspired Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich to write his Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar). The poem was not published in Russia until 1984.

Yevtushenko has written and directed "Kindergarten," a film about the effects of the German invasion on Russia's children during World War II; and "Stalin's Funeral," a quasi-historical yet surrealistic view.

Yevtushenko is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was awarded the American Liberties Medallion of the American Jewish Committee in 1991. He divides his time between Russia and the United States, where he teaches poetry at Queens College, N.Y., and the University of Tulsa.

The Poetry and Literature Center dates from 1936, when Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library of Congress. The center itself was founded in the 1940s and has been almost exclusively supported since 1951 by a gift from the late Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who wanted to bring the appreciation of good literature to a larger audience. For more information about poetry at the Library of Congress, visit the Web at www.loc.gov/poetry.

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PR 04-067
04/02/04
ISSN 0731-3527

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