Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Rookie (18 July 1933 / Zima Junction, Siberia)

Conversation With An American Writer - Poem by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

'You have courage, ' they tell me.
It's not true. I was never courageous.
I simply felt it unbecoming
to stoop to the cowardice of my colleagues.

I've shaken no foundations.
I simply mocked at pretense and inflation.
Wrote articles. Scribbled no denunciations.
And tried to speak all on my mind.
Yes, I defended men of talent,
branding the hacks, the would-be writers.
But this, in general, we should always do;
and yet they keep stressing my courage.
Oh, our descendants will burn with bitter shame
to remember, when punishing vile acts,
that most peculiar time, when
plain honesty was labeled 'courage'...

Comments about Conversation With An American Writer by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

  • Susan Williams (2/15/2016 4:51:00 PM)

    Thank you, Hollie Caskey, for the glimpse of the real man behind the poet. He did indeed live in times when plain honesty was courageous- -dictators loathe honesty (Report)Reply

    15 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/21/2008 3:12:00 AM)

    he's such a modest man. i met him once at East Central University when he gave a poetry reading. he never threw his talent around one bit. so it seems typical that he would write such a modest poem. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 2 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Friday, August 17, 2007

Poem Edited: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

[Report Error]