Qaysin Quli

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Kaisyn Kuliev
File:Kaisyn Kuliev 003.jpg
Kaisyn Kuliev in 1978
Born 1 November 1917
Upper Chegem, Russian Empire
Died 4 June 1985(1985-06-04) (aged 68)
Chegem Pervy, USSR
Occupation Poet, writer
Nationality Balkar

Kaisyn Shuvayevich Kuliev or Qaysin Quli (Russian: Кайсын Шуваевич Кулиев, tr. Kaisyn Shuvayevich Kuliyev; Karachay-Balkar: Къулийланы Шууаны жашы Къайсын, tr. Quliylanı Şuwanı caşı Qaysın; 1 November 1917 – 4 June, 1985) was a Balkar poet. He wrote in the Karachay-Balkar language and his poems are widely translated to most languages in Soviet Union, such as Russian, Ossetian, Lithuanian, Belorussian, Armenian, and to many others languages of the former Republics of the Soviet Union and worldwide.


Kaisyn Kuliev (Quli) was born on November 1, 1917, in Balkar aul Upper Chegem to a family headed by a stock-breeder and hunter. He spent his childhood in the mountains, but was orphaned at an early age and started to work. In 1926 a school was established in his aul, and he started to read and study Russian. By the age of ten he had written his first poems. After Kaisyn Kuliev graduated from school, he entered a technical college in Nalchik and saw his first publications iat 17. In 1935 Kaisyn Kuliev arrived in Moscow and entered GITIS Theater Institute. In the same period he attended lectures at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute and wrote poems. In 1939 he returned to Nalchik, where he taught literature at the local teachers' training college. In 1940, he published his first book of poetry, Hello, Morning!.

In 1940 Kuliev was drafted into the Red Army, where he served in the paratrooper brigade. In the summer of 1941, his brigade was transferred to Latvian SSR, where he fought in the Second World War. Later he was wounded in a battle near Orel. While in the hospital Kaisyn Kuliev wrote many poems that were published in Pravda, and Krasnaya Zvezda and later he participated in the battle of Stalingrad as a military correspondent for the Syny Otechestva newspaper. Participating in the operation to liberate the Southern cities, Kaisyn Kuliev was wounded again. During the period between 1942 and 1944, he wrote In an hour of Trouble, About Someone Who Didn't Return, and Perekop.

In 1944, Joseph Stalin ordered deportation of the Balkar ethnic group to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Although Boris Pasternak managed to secure a permission for Kuliev to stay in Moscow, in 1945, Kuliev chose to live in Kyrgyzstan, where he worked in the local Writers' Union. In Frunze, he met an Ingush girl, Maka, whom he married. The Ingush ethnic group was also deported by Stalin to Central Asia. Since Kaisyn Kuliev's own poetry could not be published because he belonged to a deported people, he translated other's poetry. Boris Pasternak, in his letters, was encouraging to the younger poet to have a faith in a better future no matter what.[1]

In May 1956, Kouliev went to Moscow, and in 1957 he published Mountains and The Bread and the Rose (1957) with the help of Russian poet Nikolai Tikhonov. In 1956, Balkars were allowed to return to their native places and Kaisyn Kuliev returned to Nalchik. There he published his collections The Wounded Stone (1964), The Book of the Land (1972), The Evening (1974), The Evening Light (1979), A Beauty of the Earth (1980), and others. Kouliev's poetry was finally recognized by Soviet officials when Stalin's era ended, and he was honored with State Prizes of the Soviet Republics (1966), USSR State Prize (1974) and also Lenin Prize but only after his death (1990 post-mortem). His Russian translators included Naum Grebnev, Bella Akhmadulina, Naum Korzhavin and Oleg Chukhontsev.

Kaisyn Kuliev died in 1985 and was buried in the garden of his house at the behest of his Will. The Kaisyn Kuliev Memorial Museum was opened at that location a few years later. One of the major streets of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, was named after the poet. Balkar Theater of Drama in Nalchik was also named after Kaisyn Kuliev. His poetry is the "lessons of courage, nobleness and honour".[2]

Children. His son Eldar Kuliev is a film director and screenwriter living in Moscow. Alim Kouliev is an actor and stage director living in the United States. Azamat Kuliev is an artist living in Istanbul, Turkey.


Poetry translated into English

KULIYEV, KAISYN. Grass and Stone. Selected Poems. Translated by Olga Shartse. Vestnik Kavkaza, Pyatigorsk, Russia, 2007. Bilingual edition. Translation into Russian by Naum Grebnev, Oleg Chukhontsev, Vera Zvyagintseva. 298 pp.

KULIEV, KAISYN. Grass and Stone. Translated By Olga Shartse. Selected Poems. Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1977

Poetry translated into Russian

  • Prislushaisia k slovam (Listen the Words) 2002 introduction by Chingiz Aitmatov
  • Chelovek. Ptitsa. Derevo. (The Man. The Bird. The Tree.) 1985
  • Kolosia i zvezdi (Ears and Stars) 1979
  • Sobranie sochineniy v trekh tomakh (The Collected Works In Three Volumes). 1976-1977. Introduction by Irakly Andronikov.
  • Zhivu Sredi Ludey (I Live Alone a People) 1976
  • Lirika (Lyric) 1974
  • Zvezdam goret (The Stars Will Shine) 1973
  • Izbrannie proizvedenia d dvukh tomakh (Selected Works In Two Volumes) 1972
  • Blagodaru Solntse (I Thank the Sun) 1969
  • Mir Domu Tvoemu (Peace to Your House) 1966
  • Zaveschanniy Mir (Bequeathing World) 1965
  • Izbrannaia Lirika (The Lyrics) 1964
  • Zelenaia skazka (The Green Fairytale)
  • Gory (The Mountains) 1957

Poetry translated to other languages

  • Ogon na skale (Fire On The Rock) Frunze, Kyrgyzstan, 1969.

Prose written in Russian

  • Mir I Radost Vam Zhivuschie (The Peace And Gladness to You Who Live) 2007
  • Bila zima (It Was a Winter)
  • Poet vsegda s liudmi (The Poet Always With a People) 1986
  • Tak rastet i derevo (And Tree is Growing So) 1975


  1. "Boris Pasternak to K. Kuliev. 09.10.1953" (in Russian). Retrieved September 19, 2009.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Listen the Words 2002. Introduction by Chingiz Aitmatov" (in Russian). Retrieved September 21, 2009.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links