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100th Anniversary of the Birth of national Belarussian poet Maxim Tank

Maxim Tank (Evgeny Skurko) ( 17.09.1912 Pilkovschina village, Myadel district, Minsk region. — 07.08.1995) — a writer of great talent, profoundly national and original. A real knight of poetry, documentarian translator, a well-known public figure, philosopher and lyricist of great importance. His poetry embraced all the colors of the Belarussian words and the Belarusian land itself, revealing their uniqueness and beauty. The author’s creativity went beyond the horizons of his time, at the turn of the XXI century.

Maxim Tank’s literary legacy is inextricably linked to his native Narochansky district, with turning points of history of the country and painful problems of the Belarusian people. It is a huge world of thoughts and personal experiences of the author. Intimate poetry is riddled with inner light of the writer, his sense of beauty of the surrounding world, the joy of human existence, true love and kindness to people.

Every author has his own piece of land serving as a prism to look through at the world. For Maxim Tank this is Narochansky Lakeland, Pilkovschina village, where he was born. Motherland was his sounce of inspiration, it fueled his poetry. He wrote: “I often spend night and day near my Narochansky pine trees, where all my troubles, where all my joys, where all my thoughts lie.”

The city of Vilnius became the environment, which helped to reveal Maxim Tank’s poetic talent, a place, where many different cultures are mixed. Acquaintance with such figures as Vladimir Samoilov, Adam Stankiewicz, Gregory Shirma, Jerzy Putrament, Henry Dembinski, Jonas Karosas spiritually enriched the poet. It is here that he studied, where his first books were printed (“At the stages”, “Cranberry color” and “Under the mast”), where the poet led the underground struggle for the liberation of Western Belarus. Knowing the Polish culture well, the young writer got acquainted with the famous works of European literature. 

The Great Patriotic War started when the writer was in Byelastok. He and his family managed to catch the last train to leave to the East, to the Saratov region. There he began his training at the courses of career soldiers. But government of the republic seconded the poet to Moscow , first to work in the newspaper “Sovietskaya Byelorussiya” (Moscow) edited by Michail Lynkov. The paper was intended for the Belarusian population and delivered to the German rear by planes. Since summer 1942 Maxim Tank worked in the satirical edition “crush the fascist vermin.” In 1945 he published books of poetry, “Prepare your weapons” and “Through the fiery horizon”.

In the years 1948-1966 Maxim Tank becomes the editor in chief of the major BSSR magazine “The Flame”. During this period of his life the writer reveals himself not only as a talented writer but also as a great organizer, an advocate of young authors, a public figure. At the same time he has numerous trips abroad as part of the Soviet delegations. The writer works with representatives of other cultures, exchanges experience, translates a lot of works into to the Belarusian language.

Maxim Tank was a member of the First World Peace Congress. He has visited almost all the people's democracies, the United States and Western Europe. The writer represented thrice the Soviet Union in the UN. “Traveling to different countries, I am deeply convinced that apart from trees, grasses and flowers, that grow everywhere, the soil cultivates verses. I found it on all my roads, on all continents. But the best I have found in my native land ”- recalled the writer.

Tank's poetry attracted by the richness and originality of the strophics, varied rhythm, expressiveness of intonation . The best poems in 1977 were translated into the Russian language and were included into the album “Naroch pine trees,” for which M.Tank was awarded the most prestigious literary award in the Soviet Union, Lenin Prize (1978). Over time apart from the classical forms of poems he started writing in the genre of the philosophical free verse, lifting it to the highest level. Maxim Tank was always distinguished by his attention to the the very best that has been done in the world poetry.

From 1966 to 1990 he headed the Union of Writers of Belarus, and was an active member of the Standing Committee on the literary relations in the Union of Writers of the USSR. He made major efforts to promote the literature of ethnic minorities of the Soviet Union. As a member of the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR he met with representatives of different nations and with many of of them he was on friendly terms. M.Tank's works were published in separate editions in Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Uzbek, Tajik, Kazakh, Polish, Bulgarian, Korean and other languages.

The author himself has translated more than one hundred and sixty poets of the world, which indicates not only the scale of his work, but also the breadth of interests of the writer. Sh.Petefi, N.Hikmet, J. Byron, Adam Mickiewicz, Yu.Tuvim, V.Branevsky, Yu.Slovatsky, Gorky and Vladimir Mayakovsky, A. Twardowski, Taras Shevchenko and Ivan Franko, P. Tichina, M.Rylsky, M.Bazhan, and V.Sosyura S.Tudor, T.Tilvitis, and A.Ventslava E.Mezhelaytis, and Ya.Sudrabkaln, M.Kempe are among the classics and famous contemporaries, whose works were translated by M. Tank Belarusian language.

There is a very important dimension in Maxim Tank's perception of the world, in fact, the measure of all measures, which measures all the higher truths and aesthetic values. It is the deepest humanity.

Outstanding talent, a brilliant poet, a wise man, he will forever remain as the star of the first magnitude not only in Belarusian but also in Slavic literature. Beginning with the first collection of poetry and ending with the last lines, Maksim Tank was writing a great book, behind which there is the past, the present and the future of our nation. He left the Belarusians a unique, invaluable spiritual heritage, original word, lit by high talent, wisdom, love and kindness to people. He lived by poetry, believed in its life-giving powers.