Konstantin Simonov – Soviet poet
Konstantin Simonov was a Soviet writer, poet, screenwriter, journalist and public figure, colonel of the Soviet Army. He won numerous awards, including six Stalin prizes, a Lenin prize, and the Hero of Socialist Labor medal.
Konstantin (Cyril) Mikhailovich Simonov was born on November 28, 1915 in Petrograd. The boy was born into a family of Major General Mikhail Simonov and Princess Alexandra Obolenskaya. Konstantin never saw his father as he went missing at the front in the First World War. In 1919, the boy and his mother moved to Ryazan, where she married a military expert, a teacher, a former colonel of the Russian Imperial Army, A.G. Ivanishev. Konstantin spent his childhood in military camps. In 1931 the family moved to Moscow.
His first poems were published in 1936 in The Young Guard and October magazines.
In 1938 Simonov graduated from Maxim Gorky Literature Institute.
In 1939 he was sent as a war correspondent to the Khalkhin Gol.
In 1940 he wrote his first play, The Story of One Love, which was staged at the Lenkom Theatre.
In the summer of 1941 he was in besieged Odessa as a special correspondent for Red Star newspaper.
In 1942 he was awarded the title of senior battalion commissar, in 1943 – the title of lieutenant-colonel, and after the war – the colonel.
During the war, he wrote plays Russian People, Wait for Me, the novel The Days and Nights, two books of poetry With You and Without You and War.
On April 11, 1944 Lieutenant Colonel Simonov, correspondent of Red Star newspaper, was awarded the medal For Defense of the Caucasus.
As a war correspondent Simonov visited Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Poland and Germany, witnessed the last battle for Berlin.
After the war, there were collections of his essays, Letters from Czechoslovakia, Slavic friendship, Yugoslav Notebook, From the Black Sea to the Barents Sea. Notes of a war correspondent.
After the war, he visited Japan, USA, China, and worked as chief editor of New World magazine.
In 1958-1960 he lived and worked in Tashkent as a correspondent of Pravda.
Konstantin Simonov died of cancer on August 28, 1979 in Moscow.
Simonov’s first wife was writer Natalia Ginzburg (Sokolova) (August 12, 1916, Odessa – September 25, 2002, Moscow). Simonov dedicated her poem Five pages (1938).
Evgenia Laskina (1915, Orsha – 1991, Moscow) became his second wife. Their son Alexei was born in 1939.
In 1940, Simon fell in love with one of the brightest stars of the Soviet cinema Valentina Serova. She was his muse and the strongest love. Her husband, pilot Anatoly Serov was killed in the line of duty. In 1941 Simonov wrote the play The Boy From Our City. Valentina was a prototype of Varya, the main female character and Anatoly Serov (her first husband, who died) was a prototype of Lukonin. The actress refused to act in the new play, the wound from the loss of her beloved husband was too fresh.
Simonov created the great poems which were known by every Soviet citizen, every soldier, and every woman by heart. His poem Wait For Me dedicated to Valentina Serova became a great hymn of love for the war generation. In 1943, the eponymous film was released. Valentina played the title role.
In 1942 Simonov published a collection of poems With You and Without You with dedication to Valentina Serova.
In the summer of 1943 Simonov and Serova got married. They lived together for fifteen years. In 1950 their daughter Maria was born. The couple broke up in the mid-1950s.
Larisa Zhadova (1927-1981) became his last spouse. Simonov adopted her daughter Ekaterina and later their daughter Alexandra was born.