Yuri Gagarin, First Kosmonaut

April 12th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

Fifty years ago today, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space, preceded only by dogs and rockets.

Twenty years ago, in a profoundly less celebrated event, I started learning Russian in a public high school classroom in San Francisco. The first essay I ever translated from our Russian textbooks was a short and roundly positive piece on Gagarin, of course. And so, for me, Russian and Gagarin and Soviets have always been one bundle. He was the best kind of man, and stood above the very bad system that had produced him. Happy anniversary, Yuri. Hope you’re out there in the playing in the cosmos somewhere with that space-dog.

Thanks to Dasha for passing on this lovely little video tone-poem:

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