Margarita Iosifovna Aliger (September 24, 1915 - August 1, 1992) was a famous Soviet poet, translator, and journalist.

She was born in Odessa in a family of Jewish office workers; the real family name was Zeliger. As a teenager she worked at a chemical plant. From 1934 to 1937 she studied at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute.

The main themes of her early poetry were the heroism of the Soviet people during industrialization (Year of birth, 1938; Railroad, 1939; Stones and grass, 1940) and during World War II (Lyrics, 1943). Her most famous poem is "Zoya" (1942), about Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, a young girl killed by Nazis. This work was one of the most popular poems during the Soviet era. From 1940 to 1950, the poetry of Aliger was characterised by a mix of optimistic semi-official verses ("Leninskie mountains", 1953), and poems in which Aliger tried to analyse the situation in her country in a realistic way ("Your Victory", 1944 - 1945). Aliger wrote numerous essays and articles about Russian literature and her impressions on travelling ("On poetry and poets", 1980; "The return from Chile", 1966).

Her first husband was the composer Konstantin Makarov-Rakitin, who was killed at the front near Yartsevo in 1941 after the death of their infant son (their daughter Tatyana [1940-1974] became a poet and translator), a double tragedy that left her devastated. The following year she had an affair with the author Alexander Fadeyev; from this union was born a daughter Maria, who married Hans Magnus Enzensberger and lived abroad for twenty years, killing herself shortly after a brief return to Russia in 1991. Aliger's second and final husband was the Central Committee official Igor Chernoutsan (1918-1990).

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Margarita Aliger Poems

The Dear Tragedies Of Brilliant Shakespeare

The detailed chronicles of the English kings,
sun and deep darkness, ardency and fear,
fire of feasts and cold of armors' ring.... more »

Margarita Aliger Quotes

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