This File Last Updated: 2008/06/01

Janka (Yanka) Sipakoŭ

(Poet & Journalist)

(Янка Іван Данілавіч Сіпакоў)

(born: January 15, 1936)

[ Photo: Poet Janka Sipakou^ ]

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Janka (Ivan Danilavič) Sipakoŭ was born on January 15, 1936, in the village of Zubreničy in Orša district of Viciebsk province. He lost his parents early; they were killed by the occupying German forces for aiding the partisans.

After working as a postman while still at school, he entered the Faculty of Journalism of the Belarusian State University, graduating in 1960. Then he worked on the editorial board of Vožyk until 1973, and since then for Maladość. His first publication dates from 1953, and his first verse collection, Soniečny doždž (Sunny rain), from 1960.

The years since then have seen Liryčny vyraj (Lyrical migration, 1965), Dzień (Day, 1968), Z viasny ŭ leta (From spring into summer, 1972), Vieča słavianskich baład (A collection of Slav ballads, 1973), awarded the Kupala State Prize in 1976, U poŭdzień da vady (To the water at midday, 1976), Uśmichnisia mnie (Smile at me, 1984), and Piatnica ŭ subotu (Friday into Saturday, 1988). In 1971 a collection of prose sketches, Pa zialonuju małanku (Through green lightning), revealed a strong publicist streak, and in one item, Tam, dzie Sibir' (There where Siberia is), showed a strong enthusiasm for the life and work of Lenin.

The Seventies, in fact, showed Sipakoŭ turning increasingly ─ and very successfully ─ to prose. . . . His many fine translations include Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1978) and The Diaries of Ho Chi-Minh (1985). Perhaps, however, it is in the field of lyric poetry that Sipakoŭ has made his greatest contribution to Belarusian literature.

His first verse collection was for the most part conventional in formal terms. The poet's personal experiences are depicted here almost entirely emotionally rather than intellectually, and they are made to relate to those of his generation and people, particularly in connection with the war. In the second book, Liryčny vyraj, the poet broadens his thematic range, turning to such areas as contemporary life, particularly the deep satisfaction of physical toil, the pleasures of creativity, and the importance of good will and common sense.

About this collection the outstanding writer Michas Stralcoŭ said, "He has shown talent in rejecting himself and his talent for writing verses - in the name of his talent for thinking in them" (Stralcoŭ 1966, 175). This does not mean that the poems are any less lyrical, but rather that the verses' strong emotional charge emerges gradually, as it were, from their associative imagery. This is a very characteristic feature of Sipakoŭ's best verse: the use of an intellectual perception of reality to stimulate the reader's imagination and emotions. A good example of such poetry is a fine verse of 1965, "Zialonaje vobłaka" ("The green cloud").

Another example of associative imagery from Liryčny vyraj is Liryčny ŭspamin' (Lyric memory, 1965) in which the poet reflects on his children, following his and their lives through plenty, poverty, and war. Such poems illustrate well Sipakoŭ's originality and outstanding linguistic gifts, the powerful effects he can produce by a technique that is both intellectual and often anthropomorphic, make his poetry amongst the richest to be written in the sixties.

Later collections, such as Dzień and Z viasny ŭ leta, show increasing historical interests and also a greater tendency to prosodic experiments on the border of syllabo-tonic metres and the vers libre about which Zujonak had joked. In the opinion of most critics, Sipakoŭ reached full maturity in Vieča słavianskich baład and in a garland of sonnets entitled Žančyna siarod mužčyn (A woman amongst men, 1980), achieving great expressiveness with complete harmony of form and content.

The nature of Sipakoŭ's fertile imagination can probably best be given by examples. In "Pra stoł" ("About a table", 1963), for instance, a table and its contents provide an extended image of the natural world.

Another poem of the same year, "Mova," ("Language,") contains various interesting images in its assertion of Sipakoŭ's love for his native language; a standard theme of the time, but here given very original treatment.

In "Pieśnia," ("Song", 1973) Sipakoŭ extends and develops Sergei Esenin's image of a beloved's hands being like a pair of swans, but it was in the sixties that his imagination worked most actively, at least in the realm of similes and metaphors.

Janka Sipakoŭ has undoubtedly helped in the development of Belarusian poetry, particularly in its breaking away from over-conventional images and a too-simple reliance on the most elementary verse forms. In the sixties, perhaps only Janka Sipakoŭ was a truly experimental [Belarusian] poet. . . (p. 123). In general terms too the decade as a whole was an important one for Belarusian poetry, perhaps in its themes and the enthusiasm of its writers comparable to the age of Naša niva at the beginning of the century which, in prose and drama as well as poetry, saw the birth, rather than re-birth, of modern Belarusian literature.

Янка (Іван Данілавіч) Сіпакоў

Янка (Іван Данілавіч) Сіпакоў нарадзіўся 15.1. 1936 г. у вёсцы Зубрэвічы Аршанскага раёна Віцебскай вобласці ў сялянскай сям'і.

Рана страціў бацькоў — у час Вялікай Айчыннай вайны за сувязь з партызанамі іх закатавалі фашысты. Вучыўся ў Зубрэвіцкай сярэдняй школе і адначасова працаваў паштальёнам. Пасля дзесяцігодкі некаторы час (1954—1955) быў літсупрацоўнікам шклоўскай раённай газеты «Чырвоны барацьбіт». У 1960 г. скончыў аддзяленне журналістыкі Беларускага дзяржаўнага універсітэта імя У. I. Леніна. Працаваў у часопісе «Вожык» (1960—1973). 3 1973 г.— загадчык аддзела мастацтва, крытыкі і бібліяграфіі, з 1989 г.— адказны сакратар) часопіса «Маладосць». Член СП СССР з 1961 г.

Першы верш надрукаваў у 1953 г. у аршанскай раённай газеце «Ленінскі прызыў». Выдаў кнігі паэзіі «Сонечны дождж» (1960), «Лірычны вырай» (1965), «Дзень» (1968), «3 вясны ў лета» (1972), «Веча славянскіх балад» (1973), «У поўдзень, да вады» (1976), «Вочы ў вочы» (выбранае 1978), «Усміхніся мне» (1984), а таксама зборнікі гумарэсак «Лысы юбілей» (1965), «Плюс на мінус» (1973), «Ланцугі для мух» (1980), «Пятніца ў суботу» (1988).

Аўтар кніг нарысаў «Па зялёную маланку» (1971), аповесцей і апавяданняў «Крыло цішыні» (1976), «Жанчына сярод мужчын» (1980), «Усе мы з хат» (1982), «Спадзяванне на радасць» (1983), «Пяць струн» (1984), «Сад людзей» (1985), «Журба ў стылі рэтра» (1990). Выйшлі Выбраныя творы ў 2 тамах (1985).

Пераклаў на беларускую мову кнігі паэзіі — «Лісце травы» У. Уітмена (1978), «Турэмны дзённік» Хо Шы Міна (І985), «Санеты бяды» Ф. Прэшарна (1987), паасобныя творы А. Пушкіна, А. Міцкевіча, Т. Шаўчэнкі, А. Блока, А. Туманяна, А. Цэрэтэлі, С. Квазімоды, Д. Максімовіч, I. Межэлайціса, I. Сарайліча, Р. Гамзатава, Д. Паўлычкі, А. Сійга, Ю. Марцінкявічуса, Г. Эміна, А. Малдоніса, А. Салакауры, урыўкі з «Калевалы» і інш.

Лаўрэат Дзяржаўнай прэміі БССР (1976) за кнігу паэзіі «Веча славянскіх балад».

Samples of his work

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