Ianka Kupala

Kupala, Ianka


(pseudonym of Ivan Dominikovich Lutsevich). Born June 25 (July 7), 1882, in Viazynka, now in Molodechno Raion, Minsk Oblast; died June 28, 1942, in Moscow. Soviet Byelorussian poet; People’s Poet of the Byelorussian SSR (1925): member of the Academies of Sciences of the BSSR (1928) and Ukrainian SSR (1929).

Kupala was the son of a landless tenant farmer. He attended A. S. Cherniaev’s general courses in St. Petersburg (1909–13) and the A. L. Shaniavskii Public University in Moscow (1915). He was a private tutor, clerk, salesman, and industrial worker.

Kupala’s first published poem was “Muzhik” (1905). The newspaper Nasha Niva began publishing his work in 1907; he was employed by the newspaper and was its editor in 1914–15. Kupala and la. Kolas were the founders of the new Byelorussian literature. M. Gorky played a great role in the poet’s ideological and creative development. Kupala closely allied himself with the revolutionary liberation movement of the masses, as shown in his verse collections Musical Pipe (1908), The Psaltery-Player (1910), and On the Road of Life (1913); his epic and dramatic poems, including Age-old Song (1908; published 1910), Bondarovna (1913), She and I (1910; published 1913), and Grave of the Lion (1913); and his plays Pavlinka (1913) and The Ruined Nest (1913; published 1919).

In Soviet times, Kupala’s work, inspired by the struggle to build socialism, reflected radical changes in the life of the Byelorussian people—for example, the verse collections Heritage (1922), Anonymous (1925), Song to Construction (1936), To Byelorussia the Orderbearing (1937), and From the Heart (1940; State Prize of the USSR, 1941); and the narrative poems Over the River Oressa (1933) and The Lot of Taras (1939).

Kupala’s patriotic journalism and his fiery verses directed against the fascist occupation forces enjoyed great popularity during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45.

Kupala’s poetry developed from the best artistic and democratic traditions of the Byelorussian people, absorbing the lyricism and melodiousness of folk songs and the achievements of Russian artistic culture. He translated The Tale of Igor’s Campaign, A. S. Pushkin’s Bronze Horseman, and works by T. G. Shevchenko, A. Mickiewicz, M. Konopnicka, N. A. Nekrasov, A. V. Kol’tsov and I. A. Krylov into Byelorussian. Kupala’s works have been translated into many of the languages of the USSR and of foreign countries. He was decorated with the Order of Lenin. The la. Kupala Museum was opened in Minsk in 1945.


Zbor tvorau, vols. 1–6. Minsk, 1961–63.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1953.
Stikhotvoreniia. Moscow, 1962.


Mozol’kov, E. Ianka Kupala. Zhizn’itvorchestvo, 5th ed. Moscow, 1961.
Ivashyn, V. Ianka Kupala: Tvorchast’ peryiadu revaliutsyi 1905–1907. Minsk, 1953.
Biarozkin, R. Svet Kupaly: Dumki i naziranni. Minsk, 1965.
Navumenka, I. Ia. Ianka Kupala: Dukhouny voblik heroia. Minsk, 1967.
Shott, I. M. Fol’klor v tvorchestve Ia. Kupaly. Moscow, 1968.
Iarosh, M. G. Ianka Kupala i belaruskaia paeziia. Minsk, 1971.
Esakou, A. Ianka Kupala i belaruski teatr. Minsk, 1972.
Zhydovich, I. K. Ianka Kupala—publitsyst. Minsk, 1972.
Lutsevich, V. F. Bibliiahrafiia tvorau Ianki Kupaly, parts 1–3. Minsk, 1955–72.