Eslyam Zikibaev

Eslyam Zikibaev

Famous Kazakh poet and writer.
Date of Birth: 05.06.1936
Country: Kazakhstan

Biography of Eslam Zikibayev

Eslam Zikibayev is a renowned Kazakh poet and writer, known for his nearly twenty poetry collections. He was born in the village of Ornek in the North Kazakhstan region. This small village is situated on the banks of the Esil or Ishim River, which flows into the Irtysh River and eventually reaches the Arctic Ocean.

The fertile land of Northern Kazakhstan has nurtured numerous talents in the fields of culture and literature. It has been the birthplace of great poets, writers, improvising akyns, scholars, and public figures. It was in this blessed land that Eslam Zikibayev, the spiritual successor of this creative tradition, began his civil and poetic biography. He experienced the joys and sorrows of early orphanhood in his native land. The harsh war brought about many hardships and trials, but Zikibayev, like his peers, learned valuable life lessons during this difficult time. At the age of 11, he worked as a water carrier, herded livestock, mowed grass, and later plowed fields and hitched plows during the years of land reclamation. Throughout these challenging and bitter years, his love for poetry served as an outlet.

Zikibayev was born into a simple peasant family. His father, Zikibai, was an uneducated but talented individual known in the district for his ability to compose poems. His father passed away early, leaving behind five children, with Eslam being the eldest son. His mother, Akyk, was a respected woman whose opinions were respected in the village. As a teenager without a father, Eslam experienced the hardships of rural labor, working as an assistant tractor driver and helping fellow villagers in the fields. However, his unwavering desire to learn led him to leave his native village, which lacked a secondary school, and he had to live with other families to obtain a high school diploma. In 1956, Eslam enrolled at the S.M. Kirov Kazakh State University (now KazNU) to study journalism. After graduating in 1961, he began working at the newspaper "Kazakhstanskaya Pioner" (Kazakhstan Pioneer).

Zikibayev's journalistic and literary career began at the newspaper "Kazakhstanskaya Pioner." He then worked for newspapers such as "Socialist Kazakhstan" and "Zhetisu." For over ten years, he dedicated himself to publishing and worked in the system of the State Committee for Publishing, Printing, and Book Trade of the Kazakh SSR. He served as the head of the Department of Fiction Literature in the central office, then as the head of the editorial boards of the "Zhalyn" and "Zhazushy" publishing houses, and as the editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Kitap Zharshysy - Friend of the Reader." He was elected a member of the Board and Secretariat of the Union of Writers of Kazakhstan and served as the Director of the Propaganda Bureau of Fiction Literature. In his later years, he worked as the head of the department at the magazine "A?iqat." These are the milestones of his professional biography, so to speak. However, for a true poet, the most important aspect is his creative life, the struggles of finding the right rhyme, and the ability to express the most intimate secrets of the soul through words.

Zikibayev's first poems, published in newspapers such as "Lenin Tuylary" and "Leninshil Zhas," immediately caught the attention of poetry connoisseurs due to their author's original thinking, poignant love for simple life, and the native land. But the main value was the three sacred concepts expressed by the poet himself, which largely determined his future poetic path: "Motherland and mother, native village."

Like many at that time, Zikibayev published his early poems in the pages of national newspapers and magazines. Thanks to their wide circulation, it was an opportunity to reach the largest audience of readers and almost immediately receive a lively response and the most demanding evaluation of his work. This is when the poet's high creed was formed.

Eslam Zikibayev was an honorary citizen of the Esil district in the North Kazakhstan region. In 2004, by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the name of Eslam Zikibayev was given to the secondary school in the village of Ornek in the Esil district of the North Kazakhstan region.