Literature professor to be honored at Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yevtushenko to receive award for furthering cross-cultural understanding

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, distinguished professor of literature on the English faculty at The University of Tulsa, will receive a special award from the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation for his services in furthering cross-cultural understanding between the peoples of America and Russia.

Yevtushenko will receive the multinational honor Oct. 20 at a gala event at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, D.C.

Known for his courage in speaking out against the Soviet Union’s censorship, he voiced the unspeakable atrocities against Ukrainian Jews in his powerful poem “Babi Yar.”

Babi Yar is the site near Kiev in the Ukraine where Nazis massacred more than 30,000 Jews in 1941. Until he bared the truth, the Soviet Union had presented the Holocaust as atrocities against Soviet citizens – never mentioning the genocide of the Jews.

His work inspired Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, first performed in 1962. That was the same year Time magazine placed Yevtushenko on its cover, representing “Russia’s new generation” of post-Stalin poets.

In 2007, Yevtushenko received the Peter the Great Medal of the Russian Association of Managers and was named a Living Legend by the Ukrainian Cultural Association. He has toured 94 countries and his works have been translated into 72 languages.

Yevtushenko came to TU in 1992 where he teaches Russian literature, poetry and cinema. He is also working on an anthology of the last 1,000 years of Russian poetry.

Amethyst Cavallaro