Aleksandr Andreevich Prokofev

Prokof’ev, Aleksandr Andreevich

 

Born Nov. 19 (Dec. 2), 1900, in the village of Kobona, now in Volkhov Raion, Leningrad Oblast; died Sept. 18, 1971, in Leningrad. Soviet Russian poet. Hero of Socialist Labor (1970). Member of the CPSU from 1919.

Prokof’ev’s first poetry collections, Noon, The Street of Red Dawns, and Victory (all 1931), deal with the Civil War of 1918–20, in which Prokof’ev fought, and with the disruption of the traditional rural way of life. His heroes are peasant fishermen, recent Red Army soldiers, and ordinary robust young men; the landscape of these poems is that of the poet’s native region, the area around Lake Ladoga.

In the 1930’s, Prokof’ev published collections of lyric verse, including Chronicle (1934) and In Defense of Those in Love (1939). During the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939–40 and the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 he worked as a war correspondent, was a member of a writers’ group in the political department of the Leningrad Front, and wrote militant propaganda poems, chastushki (short humorous poems), and slogans. The narrative poem Russia (1944; State Prize of the USSR, 1946), about the beauty of the Russian countryside and the patriotism of the Soviet people, was one of Prokof’ev’s most important works. The collections Beyond the River (1955) and Invitation to a Journey (1960; Lenin Prize, 1961) are notable for their breadth of concept and clear, meticulous form.

Prokof’ev was an original, vivid artist who made wide use of popular speech and folklore. His poetry is emotional, energetic, and colorful. He also wrote several books of verse for children and translated the works of Ukrainian and Byelorussian poets. From 1945 to 1948 and from 1955 to 1965, Prokof’ev was executive secretary of the Leningrad Division of the Writers’ Union of the RSFSR. He was awarded four Orders of Lenin, four other orders, and several medals.

WORKS

Sobr. soch., vols. 1–4. [Introductory article by Vas. Fedorov.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1965–66.
Proshchanie sprimor’em. Leningrad, 1969.
Bessmertie. Leningrad, 1970.
Zven’ia. Leningrad, 1972.

REFERENCES

Moldavskii, Dm. Poeziia Aleksandra Prokof’eva. Leningrad, 1959.
Bakhtin, V. Aleksandr Prokof’ev, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
Dement’ev, V. Goluboe igo: Poeziia Aleksandra Prokof’eva. Moscow, 1964.
Shoshin, V. PoetAleksandr Prokof’ev. Leningrad, 1965.

V. S. BAKHTIN

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