Moisei Solomonovich Kulbak

Kul’bak, Moisei Solomonovich


Born Mar. 20, 1896; died July 17, 1940. Soviet Jewish writer.

Kul’bak was born in Smorgon’, in present-day Grodno Oblast. He published his first poem in 1916. Kul’bak enthusiastically welcomed the Great October Socialist Revolution, and his narrative poem The City (1919) is imbued with revolutionary ardor. In 1920 he published the collection Verses.

On a trip to Vilnius, which had been liberated by the Red Army, Kul’bak was unable to return after the city was retaken by the White Poles. He then moved to Berlin. In the early 1920’s he published a life-affirming, popular-spirited, and internationalist cycle of verses entitled Byelorussia (1921). In the mid-1920’s, Kul’bak gave up poetry for abstract philosophical novels, such as Messiah, Son of Ephraim (1924) and Monday (1926). The narrative poem Bunia and Bera (1927), a work full of rebellious spirit and humor, proved an exception.

After returning to Minsk in 1928, Kul’bak published Verses and Poems (1929); the novella The Zalmans (parts 1-2; 1931-35), about the death of the patriarchal petit bourgeois world of a small town and the emergence of a new breed of people and a fresh attitude toward human relations; the satirical poem Childe Harold of Disna (1933); the collection Verses (1934); and the dramatic narrative poem The Brigand Boitrei (1936). He wrote the play Veniamin Magidov in 1937.


Lider. Minsk, 1934.
Geklibene verk. New York, 1953.
Zelmenianer. Moscow, 1971.
In Russian translation:
Zelmeniane. Moscow, 1960.
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. Moscow, 1969. (Introductory article by M. Belen’kii.)


Bronshtein, la. Atake. Moscow, 1930.
Remenik, G. “Revolutsionerer romantizm un folkstimlekhkait.” Sovetish Heimland, 1968, no. 6.