Born Today: Grigore Vieru

1924893_254056218108215_320373279_nGrigore Vieru was born on February 14, 1935 in Pererita village, Hotin County, at that time, part of Romania (today, part of Briceni district, Moldova). Five years later, that area was annexed by the Soviet Union under Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, and became the Socialist Republic of Moldova.

His first publishing debut was in 1957, a booklet of poems for children. The following year, G. Vieru graduated from the Ion Creanga Pedagogical State University in Chisinau with a degree in history and philology. In 1959, he became editor at the Nistru magazine, published by the Writer’s Union of Moldova. From 1960 to 1963, he served as editor in chief of the “Cartea Moldoveneasca” publishing house.

In 1967, Vieru’s book “Poetry for readers of all ages” (published in 1965) was awarded the Moldovan Prize for Youth Literature. The following year, his book “Your name” became part of the contemporary literature curriculum in Moldovan universities.

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In 1970, together with Spiridon Vangheli, he wrote the book that every child from Moldova read it from cover to cover, Abecedarul/Albinuta (primer). In 1989, these two writers re-published this book already in Latin script.

Many Moldovan composers were inspired by the poetry of Grigore Vieru (songbook “Poftim de intraţi”, “Cine crede” etc.), the poet himself is the author of a lot of melodies (“Să creşti mare” etc.) and since 1964 he began to collaborate with composer Yulia Tsibulskaya (“Soare, soare”, “Clopoţeii”, “Stea-stea, logostea”, “Ramule-neamule”, “Cîntînd cu iubire” etc.).

In 1973 Vieru visited Romania for the first time, remarking: “If somebody dreamed of getting to outer space, for my whole life I have dreamed of crossing the Prut River”. A couple of years later he visited several cities in Romania and Transylvania and in 1978, the “Junimea” (Romanian literary society) printed “The Friday Star”, Vieru’s first work published in Romania.

In 1989 he was elected member of Moldova’s Parliament and campaigned for the unification of Romania and Moldova. The following year he was elected Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy and in 1992, the last recommended Vieru for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Grigore Vieru died in a car accident in Cahul on January 16, 2009. At the time, he was out with friends celebrating the birthday of Mihai Eminescu, a 19th-century Romanian poet. He died of his injuries two days later and was buried on January 20th. It was estimated that his funeral was attended by about 10,000 people. Entire streets and boulevards in the capital city were shut down for that reason.

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The Romanian president Traian Basescu has posthumously awarded Grigore Vieru with the Order of the Star of Romania, Grand Cross. In Chisinau, a street was named after him as well as his bust was established on the Alley of Classics. 

Grigore Vieru was a poet who bravely promoted his country’s native language, when Moldova was a Soviet republic and Russian was the official language. He fought for the cultural reunification of Moldova and Romania. He was the one who venerated our virtues, traditions, language and sang in his poems symbols as bread, nature and image of the mother.

 

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