Aleksandr Chak

Chak, Aleksandr Ianisovich


(Aleksandrs Čaks). Born Oct. 27, 1901, in Riga; died there Feb. 8, 1950. Soviet Latvian poet.

Chak was the son of a tailor. In 1919, while studying at the medical school of Moscow University, he enlisted in the Red Army. In 1922 he returned to Latvia. Chak first published his works in 1925. He was the most prominent urban writer of Latvian lyric poetry, the poet of the working-class neighborhoods of Riga. His works also describe the ugliness of bourgeois reality. He wrote the collections The Heart on the Sidewalk (1928), My Paradise (1932), The Mirrors of Fantasy (1938), and Poem About a Carter (1930). The collection of narrative poems Overshadowed by Eternity (parts 1–2, 1937–39) deals with the heroism of the Latvian riflemen.

Chak’s poetry of the Soviet period extols the peaceful life and the happiness to be found in constructive labor. Typical examples are the collections The Patriots (1948), Under a High Star (1948), and To Struggle and Labor (published posthumously in 1951).

Chak was a master of hyperbole and emotional free verse. He also wrote several collections of short stories. His books have been translated into the languages of the peoples of the USSR.


Izlase,vols. 1–2. Riga, 1960–61.
Raksti, vols. 1–5. Riga, 1971–76.
In Russian translation:
Lestnitsy. Riga, 1964.
Serdtse na trotuare. Moscow, 1966.
Igra zhizn’iu. Riga, 1971.
Klenovyi list. Riga, 1972.


Istoriia latyshskoi literatury, vol. 2. Riga, 1971.