Pluzhnyk, Yevhen

Image - Yevhen Pluzhnyk Image - Yevhen Pluzhnyk Image - Yevhen Pluzhnyk

Pluzhnyk, Yevhen [Плужник, Євген; Plužnyk, Jevhen], b 26 December 1898 in Kantemyrivka, Bohuchar county, Voronezh gubernia, d 31 January 1936 in the Solovets Islands. Writer. In the years 1923–8 he belonged to the Kyiv writers' groups Aspys, Lanka, and MARS and contributed poetry to several Soviet Ukrainian journals. During his lifetime he published only two poetry collections, Dni (Days) in 1926 and Rannia osin’ (Early Autumn) in 1927; a third, Rivnovaha (Equilibrium), first appeared posthumously in an émigré edition in Augsburg in 1948. He also wrote the novel Neduha (Illness, 1928), which was banned from circulation shortly after its publication. Two of his plays, Profesor Sukhorab and U dvori na peredmisti (In the Courtyard in the Suburb), appeared in Zhyttia i revoliutsiia in 1929; a drama in verse, ‘Shkidnyky’ (Wreckers), was never published. He also translated Russian literature into Ukrainian and compiled (with Valeriian Pidmohylny) a dictionary of Ukrainian official phraseology (1926) and (with Vasyl Atamaniuk and Feliks Yakubovsky) an anthology of Ukrainian poetry (1930–2).

Although Pluzhnyk was one of the finest Ukrainian poets of the 1920s (he has been compared to Rainer Maria Rilke), Party criticism was hostile to his contemplative, laconic, and frequently gloomy lyricism and depiction of revolutionary atrocities and Soviet reality. After his novel was banned from circulation, he published very little. In December 1934 he was arrested together with many other Ukrainian figures, and in March 1935 he was sentenced by a military tribunal to death by firing squad. The verdict was commuted to 10 years' imprisonment in the Solovets Islands in the White Sea, where he soon died of the tuberculosis that had afflicted him since 1926. He was rehabilitated posthumously in 1956, and editions of his collected poems were published in Kyiv in 1966 and 1988. An uncensored edition appeared in Munich in 1979.

Roman Senkus

[This article was updated in 2013.]

Image - The members of MARS (Lanka): from left: B. Antonenko-Davydovych, H. Kosynka, M. Halych, Ye. Pluzhnyk, V. Pidmohylny, T. Osamchka. Image - Yevhen Pluzhnyk

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