Europe

Soviet-era poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko dies aged 84

Yevgeny Yevtushenko at International Poetry Festival, Colombia 2010 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yevtushenko published more than 150 collections of poems

The Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko has died of heart failure in the United States at the age of 84.

Yevtushenko was the last surviving major poet of those who came to prominence in the USSR of the 1960s.

He is best-known for his epic work, Babi Yar.

It commemorates one of the worst Nazi atrocities of the Second World War, in which tens of thousands of Jews and other prisoners were killed in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Babi Yar massacre: Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko recollects

The poem broke taboos by also exposing anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and was later set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich in his Symphony No 13.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The poet published some of his most famous works in the early 1960s

"He died peacefully a few minutes ago, surrounded by his loved ones," the Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted his wife, Maria Novikova, as saying.

Yevtushenko's first book, The Prospects of the Future, was published in 1952 when he was the youngest member of the Union of Soviet Writers.

He went on to publish more than 150 collections of poems and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963.

In the mid-1990s, he moved to the United States, where he taught at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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