Aron Atabek – the man, the writer, the poet and the fighter – was born on January 31, 1953. His great-great grandfather was a Kazakh poet-warrior and among the leaders of the rebellion against Russian tsarist rule.
Aron’s father survived the Golodomor mass famine under Stalin in the 1930s but was subjected to long years in the Gulag. Aron studied linguistics and Mongol and Turkic culture at universities in Kazakhstan and Russia and read widely. He wrote about the dramas in life – the historical, the mythological and the tragically commonplace. He also studied and lectured widely in linguistics and local history and culture as well as serving in the State Committee for Cinematography and separately organizing political activities and publishing.
Some of the poems in this book show that on many occasions in his life, Aron has clearly felt at one with his ancestors – fierce warriors of the steppes and believers in the Tengri faith. At other times he has found himself alongside socialists in struggles for justice and against modern-day tyranny.
Before the collapse of Stalinist dictatorship in the region, and supposed independence for Kazakhstan, Aron witnessed and wrote about the violent confrontations with armed police in December 1986 in the country’s then capital, Almaty. Continue reading “First publication in English of poems by Aron Atabek”