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 Sasha Chorny

Born:   13 October 1880 N.S
Deceased:   5 July 1932

Poet, satirist and children's writer


‘Sasha Chorny’ (‘Sasha the Black’) was the penname of the early 20th century poet Aleksandr Glukberg. He was born into a family of a pharmacist in Odessa; after he ran away from his parents he lived at his aunt’s in Petersburg and then in his adoptive family in Zhitomir; in 1902-1905 he served at the customs. Later he moved to St. Petersburg. His sarcastic though not devoid of tenderness poems published in “Satirikon” journal in 1908 immediately gained him popularity and undoubtedly had their impact on early Vladimir Mayakovsky. At the insistence of Korney Chukovsky Sasha Chorny wrote 25 verses for children.

In 1914-1917, during World War I, Sasha served as a private in a field hospital. After the October revolution, in 1920 he immigrated to Vilnius (Lithuania), and then moved to Berlin and later to Paris. As an émigré he contributed for Russian journals, was now a publisher and now a tutor of Leonid Andreyev’s children, and went on writing. In emigration he wrote a poem under the title Who lives well in emigration (Komu v emigratsii zhit khorosho) (1931-1932) (alluding to Nikolay Nekrasov’s poem Who lives well in Russia?), and prosaic Soldiers' tales (Soldatskie skazki) (1933). He died because of his overstressed heart when helping to put down fire in Provence.

The poet was buried at Le Lavandou Cemetery; his grave was lost after military actions that affected department Var, where it was located.

The summit of posthumous recognition of Sasha Chorny’s talent was composing of music by Dmitry Shostakovich to a cycle of the poet’s verses.

Tags: Sasha Chorny Russian literature Russian poets Russian writers  

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