Minsk in Belarusian writer Yanka Kupala’s life

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Minsk in Belarusian writer Yanka Kupala’s life

His magic lyric poetry comes alive in music. His creativity is the real chronicle of the life of Belarusians. Minsk became home for Yanka Kupala. It was a city of his friends and a studio for work.

Troitskoye suburb and picturesque Svisloch. The first meeting of the poet with Minsk took place there.

In 1890, the Lutsevich family from Vyazynka arrived in the big city. Father Dominic rented a house at the intersection of Alexandrovskaya and Naberezhnaya streets. He became a craftsman, and the little boy was sent to a private school.

Yanka dreamed of studying at a non-classical secondary school, but father's minuscule salary was barely enough for living.

Bright city shops, Troitsky bazaar, heart to heart conversations with old saleswomen and impetuous life in the province. For the eight-year boy Minsk seemed to be a fascinating attraction. One day together with dad they passed by the Municipal Theatre.

Could Yanka ever imagine that after a while he would initiate the establishment of the Belarusian Drama Theater, attend all performances, give advice to actors and write reviews in the capital newspapers?

A year later, the family returned to the village. Work in the field, rural life. At an early age, Yanka got to know all the sorrows of peasant life. That is why his lines are so natural and truthful.

The second meeting with Minsk took place on May 15, 1905. His poem "Peasant" in the Belarusian language was published in the newspaper "Northwestern Land". Those painful words became an anthem in a moment.

The shots of that time take us to the Minsk municipal council in Yuryevskaya Street. In 1907, the young poet received there a passport with personal number 37-26. After a time, Minsk would reappear among the numerous traveling records in the passport.

The productive Petersburg period brought in three collections of poetry. Kupala, who was entirely devoted to his people, stood for the identity together with them and glorified the beauty of his native land.

The inspired poet entered the People's University of Moscow. But World War I interrupted his plans. The student was sent to the army to a road construction unit until the October Revolution. During the service, Kupala was in Minsk and then stayed in Smolensk.

The year of 1916. Wedding picture of those times was made in a Minsk studio. The young family moved from Moscow by reason of the service. The love story of Kupala and Vladislava Statkevich began as far back as 1908 in Vilno.

A beautiful stranger enchanted the poet in the editorial office of "Nasha Niva". After the first date, Kupala was so impressed that he wrote the poem "Snow" and dedicated it to his future wife.

Vladislava Frantsevna taught the Belarusian  language to children at schools.

It is hard to imagine, but over 95 years have passed. The foundation of the BSSR, a year-long Polish occupation. The young writer plunged into crucial events; his lyrics about native nature were replaced by notes of drama and bright hope for a new epoch.

The post-revolutionary Minsk reveals Kupala as a publicist. The publishing house "Minchanin" was located at 35 Yuryevskaya Street. These walls remember the smell of the newspaper "Belarus" and the magazine "Rhun", which pages were full of Yanka Kupala’s poems and articles.

In 1920, he gave a housewarming party. Kupala moved to 135 Zakharievskaya Street. There he met his friend Źmitrok Biadula. They published the children's magazine "Zorkі" together. This house is brimming with history.

Natalia Matsukevich, scientific associate of cultural and recreation department of the Yanka Kupala’s State Literary Museum:
It was the place where he made the translation of the poem "International" (international anthem) into Belarusian. In this house, there was held a meeting with the pupils of the Belarusian school from Bobruisk. Children came to Kupala to get his permission to name their school after the poet. Yanka Kupala was pleased, of course, and he gave his consent, accepted the guests, and entertained them.

Congratulatory issues of newspapers, holiday brochures. In 1925, Kupala celebrated 20 years of creative career. Then, according to his deserts, he was given the title of National Poet of Belarus.

In 1926 Kupala was talking about purchasing a large house at 40 Octyabrskaya Street. People in the city called this place a cultural salon, the hearth of intellectuals.

Not only famous writers, but also young talents often gathered here. Having a cup of tea young people discussed enthusiastically their creative work with the classic writer. Reading of several poems was enough for Kupala to identify a person’s poetic gift. He had never made a mistake.

Literary men were sitting in the exotic garden overlooking the Svisloch. Among fragrant barberries and cypresses the poet especially loved white bush roses. He looked after them very gently, and nobody was allowed to touch them.

Nowadays Kupalovsky Park stretches there, and Literary Museum had been built at some distance from the luxury house. Few people know that the Kupala Literary Museum was previously located in Liberty Square. Under the initiative of the poet's wife Vladislava Lutsevich, 3 rooms in the Trade Unions House were allocated for the museum in September 1944.

Cultural life in the capital for Kupala was inconceivable without the theatrical backstage. The young classic writer was particularly fond of the Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Natalia Matsukevich, scientific associate of cultural and recreation department of the Yanka Kupala State Literary Museum:
The theater was opened on March 10, 1939. Yanka Kupala also visited that establishment. He enjoyed watching plays, listening to concerts. He took particular delight attending concerts, when his friend, famous Belarusian singer Larisa Pampeevna-Alexandrovskaya performed.

And although the difficult inter-war period exhausted Kupala’s spiritual mood, he wrote in Minsk more than a hundred remarkable works: collections "Spadchyna" and "Beznazounae" as well as a number of poems.

As an active public figure he contributed to the creation of the Institute of Belarusian culture, took part in the reform of the Belarusian orthography and alphabet, worked fruitfully in the terminological commission of Inbelkult (Institute of Belarusian culture), and edited the magazine "Rhun".

Yanka Kupal was a prominent public figure and a talented scientist. Minsk will always remember this new Kupala. Today a street, a theater, a park and a school remind us of the national poet.