Leonid Martynov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Martynov, Leonid Nikolaevich


Born May 9 (22), 1905, in Omsk. Soviet Russian poet. Son of a railroad technician and a village teacher.

Martynov began publishing his work in 1921. He was a book peddler, and he went on geological expeditions. Devoted to the historical past of Siberia are his novellas in verse of the 1930’s (Tobol’sk Chronicler, Seeker of Paradise, Homespun Venus), which are remarkable for their original plots, ethnographic authenticity, and broad philosophical basis. The Fortress on the Om’ (1939) and Tale of the Tobol’sk Voevodstvo (1945), prose sketches in the genre of historical fiction, seem to be a commentary on the narrative poems. His romantic lyric poetry is linked with the legendary-fantastic image of the Cove (the collections The Cove and The Ertsin Forest, both 1945), a symbol of the poet’s northern homeland and, simultaneously, of the longed-for land of happiness.

In Martynov’s mature lyric works (from the latter 1940’s), the collections Verses (1955), Primogeniture (1965; M. Gorky State Prize of the RSFSR, 1966) and Voice of Nature (1966), there prevails a joyful feeling that reaches planetary, even cosmic proportions—a feeling, arising from impressions of everyday life, of the unwearying renewal of the world. His lyric hero is characterized by democratism, contempt for pompous authorities and servility, and the desire to assume responsibility for everything occurring in the world. His verses have the character of meditations, with the poetic thought given in generalizing-allegorical and aphoristic forms and secured through the play of verbal and sound associations. The development of his work as a poet-translator dates from the 1950’s (collection Poets of Various Countries, 1964). His verses have been translated into many foreign languages. He has been awarded two orders and various medals.


Stikhotvoreniia i poemy, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1965.
Giperboly. Moscow, 1972.


Tarasenkov, A. “Poemy Leonida Martynova.” In his book Stat’io literature, vol. 1. Moscow, 1958.
Ognev, V. “Lirika L. Martynova.” In his book Poeziia i sovremennost’. Moscow, 1961.
Urban, A. “Griadushchim dnem.” Zvezda, 1964, no. 10.
Dement’ev, V. V. Leonid Martynov: Poet i vremia. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.