Irina Ratushinskaya | Wind of the Journey | Gazelle Books

Wind of the Journey

Irina Ratushinskaya

Author: Irina Ratushinskaya | ISBN: 0940895447 : 9780940895447 | Format: Paperback | Size: 135 x 210mm | Pages: 117 | Weight: .218 Kg. | Published: Midpoint Trade Books (Cornerstone Press Chicago) – May 2000 | Availability: In Print | Subjects: Works by individual poets: from c1900-

Irina Ratushinskaya will forever be known as the poet who was arrested for her writing

sentanced to a Soviet prison camp. And who continued in the face of persecution to write new poems. She wrote them on bars of soap, memorised them, and then washed away the ‘evidence’. Irina is a recognised poet in both the International community and the United States. Many of Irina’s poems have the earmarks of a well-seasoned traveller: and eagerness for adventure, melancholy good-byes, and a faith forged from life’s journey.

Irina Ratushinskaya

(born March 4, 1954) is a prominent Russian dissident, poet and writer. Irina was educated at Odessa University, the city of her birth, and was graduated with a Master’s Degree in physics in 1976. Before her graduation she taught at a primary school in Odessa from 1975-78. Irina’s greatest ordeal of life began in the early 1980s, when she was charged with anti-Soviet agitation for “the dissemination of slanderous documentation in poetic form,” convicted and sentenced to seven years in a labor camp. However, she spent only four years as a political prisoner. Her release came on the eve of the summit in Reykjavík, Iceland between President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in October 1986. It was seen as a possible concession by the Soviet government to the West.

While imprisoned, Irina continued to write poetry. Her previous works usually centered on love, Christian theology, and artistic creation, not on politics or policies as her accusers stated. Her new works that were written in prison, which were written on soap until memorized and then washed away, number some 250. They expressed an appreciation for human rights; liberty, freedom, and the beauty of life. Her memoir, ‘Grey is the color of Hope’, chronicles her prison experience. Her later poems recount her struggles to endure the hardships and horrors of prison life. Irina is a member of International PEN, who monitored her situation during her incarceration.

In 1987 Irina came to the United States, where she received the Religious Freedom Award from the Institute on Religion and Democracy. In the same year she was deprived of Soviet citizenship by Politburo. She also was the Poet in Residence at Northwestern University from 1987-89. She lived in London, UK until December 1998, when she returned to Russia to educate her children in Russian school after a year of procedures to restore Russian citizenship. She now lives in Moscow with her husband, human rights activist Igor Gerashchenko, and two sons.


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