Your shopping cart is empty.
Log in

The forgotten poet of the Silver age: stage of art and destiny of Evgeny Gerken-Baratynsky

T.Ye. Smykovskaya
80,00 ₽


Smykovskaya Tatyana Ye.,

Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor of the 

Russian Language and Literature Department

Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University



This article introduces a previously little-known name in the history of Russian literature, the poet, playwright, and translator Evgenii Gerken, who was active during the first quarter of the twentieth century. At present, even specialist philologists are unfamiliar with his life story and creative work. The article presents two collections of verse by Gerken, Lyrical Poems and The Tower, as a worthy subject for literary analysis and in addition provides a survey of several of his dramaturgical works such as They Loved and A Woman of Passion, which are unfamiliar to modern readers. It further traces the seminal stages in Gerken’s life and artistic evolution while quoting difficult-toaccess literary texts by this author, which were published in the literary periodicals of the BAMlag labor camp, where the poet was sent after his arrest in 1933. These works reveal Gerken’s equivocal attitude to the literary environment of the Gulag and to his status as a camp poet. In addition, the article includes Gerken’s hitherto unpublished correspondence with prominent cultural figures from the turn of the twentieth century, e.g., Mikhail Kuzkin and Vsevolod Meyerhold, which shows that he was at the center of the cultural endeavors of the Russian Silver Age. These biographical and literary materials point to the fact that Gerken was a multifaceted artist whose works are deserving of being read, studied, and included in the annals of the history of twentieth-century Russian literature.

Keywords: Evgenii Gerken, the Silver Age, poetry collection, lyrical hero, BAMlag.



1. Pisateli sovremennoi epokhi: biobibliograficheskii slovar’ russkikh pisatelei XX veka. T. 1. / Pod red. B.P. Koz’mina. Moscow: “DEM”, 1991. 288 s.

2. Raspiatye: Pisateli — zhertvy politicheskikh repressii. Vyp. 5. Mucheniki terrora. St. Petersburg: Izd-vo Russko-Balt. infor. tsentr BLITs, 2000. 238 s.

3. Entsiklopediia literaturnoi zhizni Priamur’ia XIX–XXI vekov / Sost., red., vstup. stat’ia A.V. Urmanova. Blagoveshchensk: Izd-vo BGPU, 2013. 484 s.

4. S.A. Esenin v vospominaniiakh sovremennikov. V 2 t. T. 1. Moscow: Khud. lit., 1986. 511 s.

5. Kuzmin M. Pis’ma o russkoi poezii // Apollon. 1910. No. 4. S. 62–63.

6. Gerken E. Liricheskie stikhotvoreniia (1907–1909). Kazan’: Elektr. tip. L.P. Antonova, 1909. 60 s.

7. Pushkin A.S. Sobr. soch. v 5 t. T. 1. Stikhotvoreniia: 1813–1836. St. Petersburg: BIBLIOPOLIS, 1993. 599 s.

8. Lermontov M.Iu. Sobr. soch. v 2 t. T. 1. Moscow: Pravda, 1988. 720 s.

9. Pis’mo Gerkena E.Iu. k V.E. Meierkhol’du, [1910-e] // RGALI. F. 998. Op. 1. Ed. khr. 1358. L. 2.

10. Pis’mo Gerkena E.Iu. k V.E. Meierkhol’du ot 21.12.1930 // RGALI. F. 998. Op. 1. Ed. khr. 1358. L. 3‒3ob.

11. Gerken E.G. Bashnia: Stikhi. Leningrad: Tip. SZOU sviazi, 1926. 88 s.

12. Arkhiv UMVD Rossii po Amurskoi obl. F. 58. D. 322, kart. # 3 [zakliuchennykh BAMlaga NKVD].

13. Gerken E. K tseli // Repertuarnyi biulleten’ litsektsii agitmassovogo sektora KVO BAMlaga OGPU NKVD. 1934. No. 5. S. 2.

14. Gerken E. Konkurs proshel // Stroitel’ BAMa: Organ KVO Upravleniia BAMlaga OGPU. 1934. No. 42 (137). 20 iiunia. S. 4.

15. Gerken E. Pesnia o TsRZ // Stroitel’ BAMa: Organ KVO Upravleniia BAMlaga OGPU. 1934. No. 80 (175). 6 okt. S. 4.

16. Smykovskaia T.E. Arsenii Al’ving: poet Serebrianogo veka v BAMlage // Voprosy literatury. 2017. No. 4. S. 197–219.

17. Putearmeitsy: Stikhi i pesni lagkorov. — Svobodnyi: Sektor pechati KVO BAMlaga NKVD, 1935. 149 s.

18. Nekrasov N.A. Stikhotvoreniia. Moscow: Khud. lit., 1985. 270 s.

19. Pis’mo E. Gerkena Iu. Shaporinu ot 1.04.1956 // RGALI. F. 2642. Op. 1. Ed. khr. 489. L. 2.