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Boris Abramovich Slutski

SLUTSKI, BORIS ABRAMOVICH (1919– ), Soviet Russian poet. Though one of the most talented Soviet lyric poets of the middle generation, Slutski was believed to have been silenced for a number of years because of the often defiantly Jewish tone of his verse. His first efforts appeared as early as 1941, but it was not until well after Stalin's death that he was discovered by Ilya *Ehrenburg and the first anthology of his verse was allowed to appear (Pamyat, 1957). Slutski thereafter became firmly identified with the liberals in Soviet literature, sounding the alarm over the increasingly technocratic character of Soviet civilization that threatened destruction to the country's humanistic cultural heritage in Fiziki i liriki ("Physicists and Lyricists," 1959). Slutski's World War II army service brought him to the devastated Jewish settlements of western Russia, and the Holocaust inspired some of his most eloquent verse, much of it published only after Stalin's death. Following the sensation created by Yevgeni *Yevtushenko's poem "*Babi Yar" in 1961, and particularly after the vitriolic attacks on the non-Jewish poet for singling out the martyrdom of the Jewish victims of Nazism, an embittered and impassioned anonymous poem about the tragic fate of Russia's Jews was widely circulated in the U.S.S.R. Its author was said to be Slutski, but this was neither confirmed nor denied by Slutski himself. In 1963 a Moscow publishing house brought out Poety Izrailya, the first collection of Israel poetry ever published in the U.S.S.R. in which many of the poets represented were either Communist Party members or sympathizers, and some of the texts were mutilated by Soviet censors. Slutski was listed as the editor of the collection, but he did not write the introduction which, in the U.S.S.R., was invariably entrusted to the editor.


Prominent Personalities in the U.S.S.R. (1968), 585.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.