Konstantin Simonov

Poems by Konstantin Simonov

Simonov’s father was killed in World War I, and he was raised by a stepfather, an officer in the Tsar’s army who taught tactics in the Soviet military academy after the Revolution. Simonov completed a factory training program in Saratov and worked as a lathe operator until 1935. He began his literary career with poetry, publishing his first poem in 1934. Love lyrics were predominant in his early verse. The poem “Zhdi menia” (Wait for Me), with its passionate declaration of love, brought him enormous popularity. He studied at the Gorky Literary Institute from 1935 to 1938 and wrote the first of eleven plays in 1939. He served as a war correspondent for the newspaper Krasnaia zvezda (Red Star) and was awarded the Stalin Prize six times.

Simonov arouses the most contradictory evaluations. Dogmatic Stalinists speak of him as a person who celebrated Stalin when he was alive and betrayed him after his death. Anti-Stalinists are displeased with his weak criticism of Stalin and his era. Yet he demonstrated courage and fortitude in many ways: falling into disgrace as the editor of Novyi mir for daring to publish the first pre-glasnost writings, including Ne hhlebom edinym (Not by Bread Alone) by Vladimir Dudintsev; flying on bombing missions over Berlin; sailing on a battle submarine during the war; and humbly repenting publicly as the head of the Writers Union for “mistakes” that in reality were among his finest civic deeds. He was the first to reject Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago, even before the state-sponsored scandal, yet he wrote the first rapturous review of Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and endorsed the publication of his Cancer Ward. Not only was he raised in a military family and atmosphere but he found his professional literary success portraying the raw reality of war. Simonov was uniquely a man of his epoch, and if some of his prose (novels and plays) seem journalistic and hurried, his poetry soars artistically.




in german

Konstantin Simonow (deutsch)


in french

Constantin Simonov (français)


in spanish

desconocido autor (español)


in italian

Konstantin Simonov (italiano)


in croatian

Konstantin Simonov (hrvatski)


in esperanto

Konstantin Simonov (esperanto)


in turkish

Konstantin Simonov (türkçe)


in hungarian

Konsztantyin Szimonov (magyar)


in georgian

კონსტანტინ სიმონოვი (ქართული)