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Gennady Aygi is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost contemporary poets. His work has been translated into some twenty languages, and he has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize. In the late 1950s, Boris Pasternak and Nazim Hikmet urged Aygi to switch from writing in his mother tongue, Chuvash, to Russian. It was not until the 1960s that he was first published in Eastern Europe, and not until the late 1980s that his poems were allowed to be openly published in the Soviet Union and Chuvashia, an autonomous republic in the middle Volga valley where he was born in 1934.
Books of his available in the U.S. include Selected Poems: 1954-1994(Angel Books/Nortwestern University Press), Salute-To Singing(Zephyr Press), and just published in April 2003, Child-and-Rose(New Directions Publishing).