Bulat Okudzhava

Poems by Bulat Okudzhava

Okudzhava’s Georgian father was a prominent Communist party worker who was executed in 1937. His Armenian mother was imprisoned in Stalin’s camps until 1955. Nevertheless, their son went willingly to the front upon leaving school in 1942. After the war he studied in the philology department of the University of Tbilisi and then worked as a teacher of Russian in the Kaluga district until 1955, when he was accepted into the Communist party. His first book of rather undistinguished poems was) published there in 1956.

Okudzhava’s popularity began only when he took a guitar in his hands and sang his poems to his own simple, but very melodious, music. Soon they were sung all over the Soviet Union in student and worker dormitories. While no recordings were released officially, poems and songs performed by Okudzhava were sold in hundreds of thousands of illegal cassettes. He became the father of the rather powerful modern “bard” movement, out of which emerged such celebrated poet-singers as Aleksandr Galich, Vladimir Vysotsky, and more recently Aleksandr Bashlachov. To many, Okudzhava is superior as a poet to all his offspring, for none of them is as subtle textually. His poetry often takes a dim view of the world, sounding themes of loneliness and vacillation between hope and hopelessness; he also employs religious and military motifs. The composer Dmitri Shostakovich admired the songs of Okudzhava for their unforgettable melodies.

Okudzhava is also the author of several unique prose works: “Bud’ zdorov, shkoliar” (Good Luck, Schoolboy) (1961); Bednyi Avrosimov (Poor Avrosimov) (1969); Merci Hi pokhozhdeniia Shipova (Mercy or Shipov’s Escapades) (1971); and Puteshestvie diletantov (The Dilettantes’ Journey) (1978). Okudzhava’s public reputation in literary politics is impeccable; he has spoken out many times in defense of dissidents and against injustices. Often criticized and finally threatened with expulsion from the party, in the end he left it himself — the inevitable outcome of a rash marriage.

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in german

Bulat Okudschawa, gedichte (deutsch)

1958

1959

1967

1982

1985

in spanish

Bulát Okudzháva, poemas (español)

1957

1959

1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

1967

1969

1975

1987

1988

1989

in bulgarian

Булат Окуджава, стихотворения (български)

1989

in italian

Bulat Okudžava, poesie (italiano)

1957

1959

1960

in ukrainian

Булат Окуджава, вірші (українська)

1958

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