Readings in English and Russian by acclaimed poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko with friends on both American coasts ca. 1972.
Exploring themes like the Vietnam conflict and genocide, Yevtushenko was criticized by fellow Russian poets for working with the Communist Party.; allowed to travel extensively during the Cold War and often critical of the West, Yevtushenko was able to forge new ground, delivering passionate, compelling, and rousing performances while casting dispersion. Though the topics are well tread in 2021 and can feel a bit trite at times, they are nonetheless, valid criticisms of some of humanity’s darkest days. However, the performances by all parties are what makes this recording engaging. The meter, and projection is fierce, words as weapons with lashing tongues rolling ‘r’s like vitriolic peals of thunder… barring Allen Ginsberg who really seems to struggle with the emotional depth of the suffering conveyed by all the other performers… including the heckler on Babi Yar (B3) whom Yevgeny shuts down just prior to his performance, eliciting a round of applause from the audience, who I gather were communist sympathizers and anti-empirical yet far too soft and weakened by capitalism to survive in Mother Russia… besides their political radicalism was merely a phase and they probably became a bit complacent after profiting greatly through their early investment in Apple™.
Yevtushenko passed in April 2017 at the age of 83, a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma.