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(pen name of Evgenii Ivanovich Skurko). Born Sept. 4 (17), 1912, in the village of Pil’kovshchina, in what is now Miadel’ Raion, Minsk Oblast. Byelorussian poet. People’s Poet of the Byelorussian SSR (1968). Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR (1972). Hero of Socialist Labor (1974). Member of the CPSU since 1936.
As a participant in the revolutionary movement in Western Byelorussia, Tank was frequently arrested. His verse collections Prisoners at Transportation Stations (1936), Cranberry Color (1937), and Before the Mast (1938) and his narrative poem Naroch’ (1937) dealt with the efforts of the toiling masses to liberate their native land.
During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Tank contributed to front-line partisan publications. His works of this period included the narrative poem Ianuk Sialiba (1942) and the verse collections Prepare to Fire and Across the Fiery Horizon (both 1945). Tank has also written That They Might Know (1948; State Prize of the USSR, 1948), On Stone, Iron, and Gold (1951), Trace of Lightning (1957), My Daily Bread (1962), A Drink of Water (1964), Pages From a Calendar: Diary Notes (1970), and Let There Be Light (1972).
Tank’s poetry combines a lofty romantic spirit with a realistic and sensual perception of the world and a broad intellectual horizon. His wide variety of poetic forms ranges from folk poetry to modern free verse and from folk songs and folktales to dramatic monologues.
Tank was a deputy to the seventh through ninth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He has been first secretary of the administrative board of the Writers’ Union of the Byelorussian SSR since 1966. He has been awarded three orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, and four other orders, as well as several medals.
WORKSZbortvorau, vols. 1–4. Minsk, 1966–67.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv., vols. 1–2. [Foreword by Ia. Khelemskii.] Moscow, 1971.
REFERENCESKalesnik, Ul. Paeziia zmahannia: Maksim Tank i zakhodnebelaruskaia litaratura. Minsk, 1958.
Buhaiou, D. Paeziia Maksima Tanka. Minsk, 1964.
Ragoisha, V. P. Paetyka M. Tanka. Minsk, 1968.
G. S. BEREZKIN