Sunday, May 4, 2014

(RNL #28) "Zoya. A Poem. 0" - Margarita Aliger (Soviet Union)

Rating: 2.5 out of 3

I managed to make time for one more WW2 classic before Victory Day...

Margarita Aliger (1915-1992) was a child of the Soviet Union. She was born in Odessa to a family of humble means. In her youth, she studied chemistry and worked for a time at a factory. However, in the early thirties, she left Odessa for Moscow and started to write. During the 2nd World War, Aliger was a war correspondent in Leningrad. In later years, she was also a rather renowned translator. 

What Aliger is perhaps most famous for are her literary works in support of the revolution and Soviet Communism. She, in fact, won the Stalin Prize for the work I am about to review, the poem, "Zoya".

I am not sure if "Zoya" has been translated into English, or if it ever will be. The poem narrates the true story of Zoya Kozmodemyanskaya; a teenage girl who enlisted in the Second World War, and who was captured, tortured and executed by the Nazis. It is a poem written in the spirit of the times; published in 1942, and meant to inspire the Soviets to keep on fighting until victory. 

To be quite honest, poetry is not my favourite genre and I'm not the best at judging it. However, this was a poem I appreciated, as it offered a window into the literature and spirit of the time. I won't soon forget the most famous lines from "Zoya", when a Nazi soldier barks to a very-soon-to-be-executed girl: "Where's your Stalin (now)?", to which Zoya replies: "He's at his post (standing guard/on the job...hard to translate!)". 

2.5 out of 3 for me

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