Vasyl Symonenko
Vasyl Symonenko a well-known Ukrainian
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, journalist, activist of dissident
A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. When dissidents unite for a common cause they often effect a dissident movement....

 movement. He is considered one of the most important figures in Ukrainian literature of the early 1960s. By the opinion of the Museum of dissident movement in Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, the works and early death of Vasyl Symonenko had an enormous impact on the rise of the national democratic movement in Ukraine.

The poet was born in a peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

 family in the village of Biyivtsi, Kharkiv Oblast
Kharkiv Oblast
Kharkiv Oblast is an oblast in eastern Ukraine. The oblast borders Russia to the north, Luhansk Oblast to the east, Donetsk Oblast to the south-east, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast to the south-west, Poltava Oblast to the west and Sumy Oblast to the north-west...

 (today - Poltava Oblast
Poltava Oblast
Poltava Oblast is an oblast of central Ukraine. The administrative center of the oblast is the city of Poltava.Other important cities within the oblast include: Komsomolsk, Kremenchuk, Lubny and Myrhorod.-Geography:...


After graduating from Kiev State University in 1957, Vasyl Symonenko worked as a journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 in several newspapers in Cherkassy oblast
Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...


The debut book of poems "Tysha i hrim" ("Silence and thunder") came in 1962 and made clear the talent of Symonenko among the young poets, though he had only one year to live (cancer of kidneys was diagnosed later). His literary environment included the poets Mykola Vinhranovsky, Ivan Drach
Ivan Drach
Ivan Drach is a Ukrainian poet, screenwriter, literary critic, politician dissident, and political activist....

 and Lina Kostenko
Lina Kostenko
Lina Kostenko is a Ukrainian poet and writer, recipient of the Shevchenko Award . Kostenko is a leading representative of Ukrainian poets of the sixties known as Shestydesiantnyky . This group started publishing during the 1950s and reached its apex during the early 1960s...

, the publicists, critics Ivan Dziuba
Ivan Dziuba
Ivan Dziuba is a Ukrainian literary critic, social activist, dissident, Hero of Ukraine, academic of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the second Minister of Culture of Ukraine , Head of the Committe for Shevchenko National Prize .Co-Chief of Editorial Board of the Encyclopaedia of Modern...

, I. Svitlichny, Y. Sverstyuk and other "shestydesyatnyky" (the sixtiers).

During his last year of living Vasyl Symonenko wrote his second book – "Zemne tyazhinnya" ("Earth’s gravity"), the verses from which were quoted, written out (adding what the censor had omitted), learned by heart and compared with the poetry of Taras Shevchenko
Taras Shevchenko
Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko -Life:Born into a serf family of Hryhoriy Ivanovych Shevchenko and Kateryna Yakymivna Shevchenko in the village of Moryntsi, of Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire Shevchenko was orphaned at the age of eleven...


In 1962, Symonenko together with his friends A.Horska and Les Tanyuk found the burial places of NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 repressions in Bykivnia
Bykivnia is a former small village on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, that was incorporated into the city in 1923. It is known for the National Historic-Memorial Reserve "Bykivnia Graves"....

, Lukianivskyi and Vasyslkivskyi cemeteries near Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. For the fact he appealed to the Kiev City Council. In 1963 Symonenko was brutally beaten up by operatives of the Soviet Ministry of Interior at the Shevchenko rail station in the city of Smila
Smila may refer to one of the following:* Smila, Ukraine, a city in Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine* Smila, Greece, a little village near Olympia, Greece-See also:*Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, a Danish novel filmed as Smilla's Sense of Snow...

 from which he suffered a failure of kidneys and soon died in the main oblast hospital on December 13, 1963.

His works have been translated into English and published mostly among the Ukrainian diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

 in the Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 and Western Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...


The fullest collection of Symonenko’s works was published abroad under the title "Bereh chekan" ("Shore of anticipation") in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...


The publishing house "Smoloskyp" was named after Vasyl Symonenko in 1967.

On December, 2008, the National Bank of Ukraine
National Bank of Ukraine
National Bank of Ukraine is the central bank of Ukraine. Its headquarters building, constructed between 1902 and 1934, is located at no. 9 Institutska St., in Kiev-History:...

 issued into circulation a commemorative coin "Vasyl Symonenko" within "Outstanding Personalities of Ukraine" series.

Examples of Vasyl Symonenko works

"...Gray-haired L'viv! The capital of my dreams,

Epicenter of my joy and hope!

My heart bursts - I understand you

But, L'viv, you have to understand me a little.

I came to you with admiration of a son

From the plains where Slavuta composes its legends

To have your desperate lion's heart

Shed a drop of power into my heart."

(extract from the poem "Ukrainian Lion", 1962)

"Billions of beliefs
are buried in the black soil,
billions of happinesses
have been scattered into dust..."

External links

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