Ivan Elagin

Ivan Elagin (1918–1987) was born in Vladivostok, Russia on December 1, 1918. His real last name was Matveev, and his father was a poet, as was his grandfather, who was also a journalist, publisher and historian. Before WWII, Elagin studied medicine in Kiev, before moving to Germany and beginning his career as a poet. Later he moved to the United States where he taught Russian literature at New York University and at the University of Pittsburgh. Between 1959 and 1982, he published seven volumes of poetry, including On the Road from There, Under the Sign of the Ax, In the Hall of the Universe, and Heavy Stars. Most of Elagin’s poetry was written in emigration, and the poet referred to himself as a “man in translation.” He said, “I think that at the heart of my work is the theme of dissolution, the division, the fragmentation of modern man in time and space.” Elagin died on February 8, 1987.

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