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Samuil Marshak's Poetry

Samuil Marshak was one of the most important Russian authors of the first half of the Twentieth Century. Yet outside Russia he is only known for his children's stories.

For more than forty years, Samuil Marshak (1887 -- 1964) was a leading name -- both as a writer and as an organizer -- in Soviet Russian children's literature. His large output clearly reflects the changing aesthetic and ideological ideals. In the twenties Marshak was part of the avantgarde, in the thirties, when socialist realism was made the literary norm, Marshak, with his poems about heroic deeds, Soviet patriotism and the transformation of the country, played an active part in guiding children's literature along new lines. It was not without reason, therefore, that Gorky called Marshak "the founder of Soviet children's literature".

Children's Books in Soviet Russia

From a Russian biography of Samuil Marshak, which has not been translated into English:

The composer of "The Anthology of Russian Poetry of  the XX Century" ("Polyfact", Minsk-Moscow, 1995) Evgenie Evtushenko has not found in the huge volume a place for S. J. A. Marshak's poems even though in the collection are more than 800 poets..

It is strange, that in the anthology, called "Results of a century," there were "overlooked" Marshak's verses, even though they were highly appreciated by Anna Ahmatovoj, Maxim Gorkim, Marina Tsvetaevoj, and others.

Perhaps, Evgenie Aleksandrovich has acted so in a sign of "gratitude" for Marshak's poem "My Answer Маrkovu "? Not many have ventured to protect young Evtushenko after it and "Vаb-ego Yara ."

Samuil Marshak wrote:

The known hero was during imperial time
Named Marks, on a nickname of "second".
It in the Duma rowed, in the newspaper wrote,
All life from Jews Russia rescueed.
People became the owner of Russian ground
From Маrkovyh former Russia have rescued.
And here acts today in the newspaper
One more of Marks, already the third.
"Poet - neevrej" should restrain,
The lost Jews are regretted by the pygmy.
The poet-enemy it dolbает the answer,
Wrapped up in a verse hooligan kastetoм.

Meanwhile in 1947 when in the Central house of writers six-ten years' anniversary was marked by S.JA.Marshak, "leader" of the Soviet literature A.A.Fadeev has declared: « Marshak goes in our poetry on... A Pushkin line. If to search for relationship of his verses with any verses in the past, they first of all are related to a Pushkin verse (it is allocated by me. - М.Г.)! And let this paradoxical my statement will not be accepted you in that sense: and what similar at him to "Poltava" or " I remember a strange instant "? Let it will be understood in that direct and at the same time secret sense in what I have told: Pushkin clearness of a verse, a transparency, absence литературщины is inherent Marshak's in creativity, acceptance of a verse only when it can with identical clearness and a transparency to reach any reader ». These qualities, in opinion Fadeeva, do Marshak "... The poet completely unusual, uncommon, exclusive and for this reason entitle to name his one of the best writers and poets of the present ".

In two years after that performances A. Fadeeva Marshak, whether under the impression connected to his official "erection" in " a Pushkin number ", whether for other reasons, has written the poem "Immortality". It about Pushkin, but not only.

In Russian we speak since the childhood,
But magic of familiar words
We find, as the inheritance,
In light of Pushkin verses.
I recollect edge of fathers

« Not much today know, - Jewish poet Aron Vergelis recollects, - that Marshak began with small кnizhechki "Ziondy". Still the young fellow it has written her. I have brought to it somehow this кnizhechki and have told: " Here your the first кnizhechka ". It has been excessively anxious: " the Smart guy, really I not has destroyed all? " »

Here pertinently to recollect drevnermskoe saying: " the Poet always the gawk ". But, alas, to live to Marshak it was possible not in Ancient Rome, and in the country where to be such "gawk", moreover the Jew (even if this person is named in BSE the oustanding Russian poet) - destiny not simple. And for participation to Zionismu it was possible not only to appear on Solovkah, but also to pay with the life. And from this point of view reaction Samuila Jakovlevicha to "gift" Vergelis more than is natural.

Aron Vergelis considers, that " in mature years no Jewish motives in Marshak's creativity existing ". It will be shown below, that the Jewish poet was mistaken. However we shall return to "Zionidam".

"Knizhechku" I never held this in hands, and attempts to find her have not crowned success. But from "Zionid" I read verses in the collection " At the rivers Babylon " ("Сафрут", 1917), and they have very much excited me:

As it is strange, that a stream burdivyj-
Centuries, soviets, tribes-
Not sense here the past. Also are alive
In the country darling names
Sacred places.
I was in village Fellahov poor - Аnotot.-
There dews and veins great, ancient
The prophet mourned people.
And looking on nemyie stones
The dwellings stretched okrest,
I long thought, how is close to me
Grief of severe these places.

To "Zionidam" Marshak has come not at once and, especially, is not casual - these verses were as though a natural result of creativity of the young poet.

One of his first poems on the Jewish theme " Above a tomb ", devoted to memory Теоdоrа Gerpda, has been published in 1904 in the almanac " the Jewish life ". The publication is remarkable also that the poem for the first time is signed - "S. Marshak".

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