Questions tagged [belarusian-language]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the Belarusian language, regardless of where they were originally published.

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What is the "guilty smile of a blind man"?

In the beginning of Khatyn, we are introduced to a man with dark glasses and a white cane whose "mouth quivered with the guilty smile of a blind man." He's later said to have the "fixed ...
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What does the word "Gnomica" mean in this Siarhiej Dziarhaj poem?

The poem Gnomica by Siarhiej Dziarhaj starts as follows: The tear is always bitter, And sweat is salty, And blood is crimson, And grief is murky. What does the word "Gnomica" mean in this ...
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Why did Maksim Tank's sun dial use his own shadow?

Maksim Tank's poem The Sun-Clock describes his sun clock as "remarkably accurate". However, he further states that When someone asks me "What o'clock is it?" I stop, Like my ...
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Did Maksim Tank go to prison?

The poem I am glad to be a man by Maksim Tank includes these lines: Only I, having lived through a past Of prison, hard frost, loss of freedom, Villages ruined to ash... Is Maksim Tank talking about ...
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Why does this poem seem to indicate that Belarus is a large coal producer?

According to Britannica, Belarus has relatively few natural resources: Belarus is generally poorly endowed with mineral resources. The government is attempting to accelerate the development of its ...
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Why did the war-trenches get leveled over with sand?

The Belarusian poem It would be well by Maksim Tank (which was written in the aftermath of brutal fighting in Belarus during WWII) included the following line: The winds level over our war-torn ...
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Who was Captain Hastel?

The Eagle Well-Spring by Alaksiej Zarycki was dedicated "to the memory of Captain Hastel." It includes the lines ... For the eagle's grave came not seeking! That's where Hastel's heart ...
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Why did Alaksiej Zarycki dedicate "The Heart" to Pimien Pancanka?

The Heart by Alaksiej Zarycki starts off by saying: A miser I, The greatest of misers All that I can find in My heart I am hiding. Dreams from youth rising, Battle's loud thunder, Fortune'd bright ...
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Why does Pimien Pancanka refer to a point in Georgia when talking about Iran and Belarus?

A poem by Pimien Pancanka in Like Water, like Fire is simply titled * * *, and it was labeled "Iran, 1944" at the end. It includes the following lines: The cranes fly beyond Kazbek and El'...
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What is a partisan hut?

My Hut by Anatol Astrejka ends with the following lines: When no trace of war will meet you, To deep forest glades once more I'll return, again to greet it, My partisan hut of yore. Earlier, the ...
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Does "Native Bread" refer to the Passover Story?

Native Bread by Piatro Hlebka starts as follows: The fire burns. Round the trench is massing For home yearn our countrymen, And the partisan young lasses Bake and dry flat loaves again. May that ...
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Why does Arkadź Kulašoǔ live on Moscow Street, and where is this?

Arkadź Kulašoǔ has a poem entitled "Moscow Street," which starts with the line "I live on Moscow Street, I have my home there". Where is Moscow Street? Is this actually in Moscow? ...
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Why did Valancin Taulaj refer to himself as a jailed Communist in this poem?

In his poem Last Words, Valancin Taulaj wrote: I am a Communist! there are many like me In this our land that from the dawn of time has growned, Never shall magnates crush us, though they strike us, ...
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What kind of tower was Ales Dudar referring to in "The Tower"?

The Tower by Ales Dudar contains the following: The tower sleeps? What is it dreaming? It rises, gloomy, like a ghost. A prison here? A belly seeming? Who is there that can guess its past? ... And ...
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What is Nioman water?

Jakub Kolas's poem Evenings (from The New Land) contains the following lines: I see level lands, far over Nioman water, and their clothing What is Nioman water?
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Why does the poem "I Love" seem to imply that Belarus is fertile?

Follow-up to: Is Belarus actually hard to farm? The poem I love by Kanstancyja Bujla contains the following lines: I love our Byelorussian nation, Cottages where green orchards throng, The ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why is parched grain that grows anyway a metaphor for the Belarusian people?

Like Water, Like Fire contains the following poem: Where the Egyptian sands spread far around, Close where the waves of azure Nile are flowing, A tomb stood many thousands of years: men going Within, ...
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1 vote
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What happened to the USSR hospital at Khmelnitsky?

An interview with a major in Zinky Boys (day 2, track 8 in the audiobook) referred to a hospital of some kind in Khmelnitsky for long-term casualties who couldn't or wouldn't go home for various ...
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2 answers
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Was Vietnam referring to the Vietnam War in Zinky Boys?

In an interview with a major (track 8, day 2 in the audiobook), the interviewee mentions having friends who were in Ethiopia, Angola, and Vietnam. Is this likely referring to the Vietnam War (except, ...
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1 vote
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Valzhyna Mort's "it's so hard to believe"

The poem "it's so hard to believe" by the Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort can be found here both in the original Belarusian and in an English translation. According to my reading, the poem ...
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What were Bulgarian biscuits?

In Zinky Boys (track 7 in the audiobook), a female doctor complained that the girls she stayed with mostly talked about things like rubles, foreign currency vouchers, and how to steal meat and other ...
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Why the different spellings of Belarus?

In several poems in Like Water, like Fire, Belarus is spelled "Byelorussia", and in some it's spelled "Biełaruś". Why is that?
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What does it mean that "your door is stroked with chalk / then at dark a chariot arrives" in Belarus?

In the poem Belarusian I by Valzyhna Mort, extracted from her book Factory of Tears, the poet appears to be bemoaning the lack of freedom in her country. Some parts are clear enough, even if ...
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Is Belarus actually hard to farm?

To Our Native Land by Janka Lučyna starts as follows: Thou art spread widely with forests and marshes, With sand-dune expanses that grant but poor living It then goes on to talk about how bad the ...
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3 votes
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What was the first Belarusian novel?

While reading the Wikipedia article about Belarusian literature and the articles about individual authors who were active before World War II, it struck me that most authors were poets, with some of ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes
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Who wrote this particular poem in Zinky Boys?

Zinky Boys refers to the following (rather morbid in my opinion) poem: Women and wine are fine But a real man needs more The sweet taste of war The interviewee mentioned that that bit of verse was ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why did so many people in Zinky Boys give the temperature as 70 degrees Celsius?

In Zinky Boys, numerous people quoted complained that the temperature was 70 degrees Celsius. In fact, so far, everyone who mentioned an exact temperature gave that as the number. Why was that?
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why were Afghanistan veterans treated so poorly relative to World War II veterans?

A recurring theme in Zinky Boys is how little the general population knew about the war in Afghanistan (especially at first). The Soviet government told everyone that they were building bridges and ...
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2 votes
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What was the original rhyming scheme of "Do not shun me..."?

The poem Do Not Shun Me... starts as follows: Do not shun me, my lord, nor recoil Because callouses all my hands cover; For such sis the badget of a hard toil, And will not defile you, no never. 'Tis ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What was the long list of names in the beginning of "Zinky Boys"?

Toward the beginning of Zinky Boys, Svetlana Alexievich states that she didn't use people's real names in the book (mostly to protect their privacy) but kept a record of them in case her sources ever ...
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3 votes
1 answer
67 views

Why did Svetlana Alexievich write "Zinky Boys"?

In the beginning of Zinky Boys, Svetlana Alexievich states that she didn't want to write another war book and talks about how strongly and negatively writing her previous war book had affected her. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
100 views

What is the significance of the 40-year period referred to in this Francisak Bahusevic poem?

The poem My Pipe by Francisak Bahusevic contains the following lines: Like fish from the river, On the ice a-flapping, Just so I, it happened, Forty years flapped, yearning, Yet knew no returning, ...
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6 votes
1 answer
195 views

What is Krosyn?

"Play then, play" by Pauluk or Paŭli︠u︡k Bahrym (in the poetry anthology Like Water, like Fire) contains the following lines: ... But the bagpipes I must play, for I in Krosyn cannot stay ...
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7 votes
1 answer
145 views

You can enter prison for reading in Belarus, why?

#Belarus 66-year-old Halina Huliankova was sentenced to 20 days in prison for reading books of Belarusian authors. She was on a train together with other pensioners. She is being held at Akrescina. In ...
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