Shared from the 2017-04-02 Chattanooga eEdition

Acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko dies



Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, in this 1972 file photo, takes a puff on his cigarette as he arrives at Kennedy Airport in New York during a four-week tour of the U.S. Yevtushenko died Saturday morning at age 84 in Oklahoma.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, whose work focused on war atrocities and denounced anti-Semitism and tyrannical dictators, has died. He was 84, according to several Russian news outlets.

Roger Blais, the provost at the University of Tulsa, where Yevtushenko was a longtime faculty member, said he was told by Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa that Yevtushenko died Saturday morning. A spokeswoman for the eastern Oklahoma hospital confirmed his death.

Yevtushenko gained notoriety in the former Soviet Union in his 20s with anti-Josef Stalin poetry. He gained international acclaim in 1961 with the poem, “Babi Yar,” an elegy to the nearly 34,000 Jews who were massacred by the Nazis in 1942 and buried in a ravine near Kiev, Ukraine.

He first came to the University of Tulsa to teach in 1992 at the invitation of then-university President Robert Donaldson, who specialized in Soviet policy during his years at Harvard.

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