Samuel Yakovlevich


Samuel Yakovlevich Marshak was a Russian Soviet poet of Jewish origin, a playwright and translator, a literary critic, and a screenwriter. He was an author of popular children’s books. He was awarded the Lenin Prize and four Stalin Prizes. He began his writing career in 1907 with the publication of a collection of poems on Jewish themes, Zionists. One of the poems from this collection (Over an Open Grave) was written on the death of the “Father of Zionism” Theodor Herzl. In 1911, together with his friend, the poet Yakov Godin, and a group of Jewish youth, he undertook a long journey to the Middle East: from Odesa, they sailed by ship to the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean: Turkey, Greece, Syria and Palestine. Samuil Marshak went there as a correspondent of the St. Petersburg Universal Newspaper and Blue Magazine. Under the influence of what he had seen there he created a cycle of poems under the general title of Palestine. Samuil Marshak and his family returned to St. Petersburg in the 1920s. He directed the studio of children’s writers at the Institute of Preschool Education together with the folklorist Olga Kapitsa. Marshak began writing his first poetic fairy tales—Fire, Mail, The Tale of a Silly Mouse—and translating English children’s folklore. The poet became the de facto editor of one of the first Soviet children’s magazines Vorobey (later known as Novy Robinzon). The poet moved to Moscow in 1938. During the Finnish-Soviet War and World War II, the poet collaborated with Soviet newspapers: He wrote epigrams and political pamphlets. In 1942, Samuil Marshak was awarded the first Stalin Prize for his poetic captions for posters and cartoons. After the war, books of his poetry were published: Military Mail, True Story, a lexicon of verses From A to Z. In children’s theatres, performances based on Marshak’s works Twelve Months, Cat’s House, Smart Things took place. In the 50’s Samuil Marshak traveled to the United Kingdom, translated sonnets of William Shakespeare, poems of Rudyard Kipling, George Byron, works of Alan Milne and Gianni Rodari. A memorial plaque to Samuil Marshak was placed on the wall of the house in Moscow where he lived and worked from 1938 to 1964.

Address: Moscow, Zemlyanoy Val str., 14-16, p. 1