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An enchanting collection of the very best of Russian poetry, edited by acclaimed translator Robert Chandler together with poets Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, poetry's pre-eminence in Russia was unchallenged, with Pushkin and his contemporaries ushering in the 'Golden Age' of Russian literature. Prose briefly gained An enchanting collection of the very best of Russian poetry, edited by acclaimed translator Robert Chandler together with poets Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, poetry's pre-eminence in Russia was unchallenged, with Pushkin and his contemporaries ushering in the 'Golden Age' of Russian literature. Prose briefly gained the high ground in the second half of the nineteenth century, but poetry again became dominant in the 'Silver Age' (the early twentieth century), when belief in reason and progress yielded once more to a more magical view of the world. During the Soviet era, poetry became a dangerous, subversive activity; nevertheless, poets such as Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova continued to defy the censors. This anthology traces Russian poetry from its Golden Age to the modern era, including work by several great poets - Georgy Ivanov and Varlam Shalamov among them - in captivating modern translations by Robert Chandler and others. The volume also includes a general introduction, chronology and individual introductions to each poet. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


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An enchanting collection of the very best of Russian poetry, edited by acclaimed translator Robert Chandler together with poets Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, poetry's pre-eminence in Russia was unchallenged, with Pushkin and his contemporaries ushering in the 'Golden Age' of Russian literature. Prose briefly gained An enchanting collection of the very best of Russian poetry, edited by acclaimed translator Robert Chandler together with poets Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, poetry's pre-eminence in Russia was unchallenged, with Pushkin and his contemporaries ushering in the 'Golden Age' of Russian literature. Prose briefly gained the high ground in the second half of the nineteenth century, but poetry again became dominant in the 'Silver Age' (the early twentieth century), when belief in reason and progress yielded once more to a more magical view of the world. During the Soviet era, poetry became a dangerous, subversive activity; nevertheless, poets such as Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova continued to defy the censors. This anthology traces Russian poetry from its Golden Age to the modern era, including work by several great poets - Georgy Ivanov and Varlam Shalamov among them - in captivating modern translations by Robert Chandler and others. The volume also includes a general introduction, chronology and individual introductions to each poet. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

30 review for The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    In this expansive anthology, Robert Chandler summarises the past three-hundred years of Russian poetry into a surprisingly tight 528 pages. Beginning with Gavrila Derzhavin and ending with Marina Boroditskaya, sixty-six Russian poets grace the pages of this book, all of whom sit around a rotunda at the centre of which Pushkin sits proudly. Prior to reading this collection my knowledge of Russian poetry was nil. Thankfully this book was written exactly for me: the absolute beginner. Chandler holds In this expansive anthology, Robert Chandler summarises the past three-hundred years of Russian poetry into a surprisingly tight 528 pages. Beginning with Gavrila Derzhavin and ending with Marina Boroditskaya, sixty-six Russian poets grace the pages of this book, all of whom sit around a rotunda at the centre of which Pushkin sits proudly. Prior to reading this collection my knowledge of Russian poetry was nil. Thankfully this book was written exactly for me: the absolute beginner. Chandler holds your hand as he weaves you through history, poet by poet, providing a small biography of each person as well as a handful of their work. Treat this book like a fan of paint swatches, investigating which shades you love, which shades you hate, and which ones clash horribly. Great emphasis is placed on Pushkin, as Pushkin is to Russian literature what Shakespeare is to English. Early sections are even titled for him. You begin 'Around Pushkin', you then move onto Pushkin himself, and you exit 'After Pushkin'. One may question the emphasis placed on Pushkin within this anthology, just as many are now questioning the centrality of Shakespeare within the English canon. But just by reading most of the poems presented to you by Chandler you will notice that Pushkin is the spectre which haunts nearly every single one of them. Any Russian poet worth their salt in the 19th and 20th centuries has a poem, or a series of poems, dedicated to Pushkin, such is his almost Christ-like status within Russian literature. Reading many of the poets' biographies one is also made aware of the sheer danger associated with calling oneself a poet in 20th century Russia. Apart from Pasternak, who died of lung cancer, practically every biography ends with, and I am greatly paraphrasing here, 'they died in a gulag'. It is somewhat miraculous that so much poetry even survives, given the dire condition in which much of it was created. As Lev Ozerov wrote of Shmuel Halkin 'poems piled up / a terrible burden / more dangerous, perhaps, than gunpowder'. This collection has introduced me to so many wonderful new names. In many ways it is a burden, as I now have to go out and buy collections by all of these new writers and my bookshelf will bow under the weight but at least the shelves will look like they're smiling.

  2. 5 out of 5

    E. G.

    Chronology Introduction The Eighteenth Century Gavrila Derzhavin (1743-1816) --God --To Rulers and Judges --On the Death of Prince Meshchersky --The Waterfall (extract) --Monument --To Eugene: Life at Zvanka (extract) --On Transience Ivan Krylov (1769-1844) --The Donkey and the Nightingale --The Geese Going to Market --The Fly and the Travellers --The Hind and the Hermit --The Kite and the Butterfly --The Lion's Share --The Peasants and the River --The Prodigal and the Swallow --The Pig under the Oak Tree --The Chronology Introduction The Eighteenth Century Gavrila Derzhavin (1743-1816) --God --To Rulers and Judges --On the Death of Prince Meshchersky --The Waterfall (extract) --Monument --To Eugene: Life at Zvanka (extract) --On Transience Ivan Krylov (1769-1844) --The Donkey and the Nightingale --The Geese Going to Market --The Fly and the Travellers --The Hind and the Hermit --The Kite and the Butterfly --The Lion's Share --The Peasants and the River --The Prodigal and the Swallow --The Pig under the Oak Tree --The Sheep with Shaggy Fleeces --The Lion, the Chamois and the Fox Around Pushkin Vasily Zhukovsky (1783-1852) --To Her --9 March 1823 --'Still he lay without moving, as if, after some difficult task. . .' Konstantin Batyushkov (1787-1855) --To My Friends --'You wake, O Baiae, from your tomb. . .' --Imitations of the Ancients (extract) --'Reader, have you not heard. . .' Prince Pyotr Vyazemsky (1792-1878) --The Russian God --Farewell to a Dressing Gown (extract) --'Life in old age is like a worn-out gown. . .' Wilhelm Küchelbecker (1797-1846) --Fragment Anton Delvig (1798-1831) --Russian Song --The Poet's Lot Yevgeny Baratynsky (1800-44) --Disillusionment --'My talent is pitiful, my voice not loud. . .' --The Muse --On the Death of Goethe --Autumn --'Thought, yet more thought! Poor artist of the word. . .' --A Grumble --Rhyme (extract) Nikolay Yazykov (1803-46) --On the Death of Pushkin's Old Nurse Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) --Prologue to Ruslan and Lyudmila --Epigram --'I cannot forget that hour. . .' --'The season's last flowers yield. . .' --To Vyazemsky --The Prophet --To Ivan Pushchin --Scene from Faust --'City of splendour, city of poor. . .' --'I loved you - and maybe love. . .' --A Feast in Time of Plague (extract) --Mozart and Salieri (extract) --Epigraph to The Queen of Spades --Autumn (A Fragment) --'It's time, my friend, it's time. We long for peace. . .' --The Egyptian Nights (extract) --The Bronze Horseman: A Petersburg Tale --Wedding Song (from The Captain's Daughter) --Exegi monumentum After Pushkin Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-73) --De Profundis --Silentium --'I like the Lutheran service, calm and grave. . .' --'Tears of humanity, tears of humanity. . .' --'There is deep meaning in a parting. . .' --'The sacred night has scaled the sky and rolled. . .' --'Pray, do not say: 'His love for me has not diminished. . .'' --Last Love --'How bare the countryside! What dearth. . .' --'In early autumn sweetly wistful. . .' --'You will not grasp her with your mind. . .' --'Russia is baffling to the mind. . .' --'Not in our power to foretell. . .' --'My brother, who has kept us both alive. . .' --'I am deprived of everything. . .' Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41) --A Prophecy --'No, I'm not Byron, I'm unknown. . .' --The Sail --Borodino --'Though we have parted, on my breast. . .' --Cossack Lullaby --'Farewell forever, unwashed Russia. . .' --'I go outside to find the way. . .' --My Country --Dream A. K. Tolstoy (1817-75) --Wolves Afanasy Fet (1820-92) --Spring --'Billowing dust. . .' --The Aerial City --'Look outside my window the vine is spreading so fast. . .' --Whispers --By the Fireplace --'Evening. I'll go to meet them down the old. . .' --'The moment I encounter your smile. . .' --Never --Here --Swallows --'Not a word will I utter. . .' --'You're ringed by fire. Its flashes. . .' --September Rose --'Loving, I am still dumbfounded. . .' Apollon Maikov (1821-97) --The Hay Harvest Nikolay Nekrasov (1821-78) --'Hay Square, 6 p.m. . . .' --Red-Nosed Frost (extract) --A Hymn --Princess Volkonskaya (extract) The Twentieth Century Innokenty Annensky (1855-1909) --Flies Like Thoughts --In the Train Car --Spring Song --Poppies --Winter Sky --Bronze Poet Fyodor Sologub, pseudonym of Fyodor Kuzmich Teternikov (1863-1927) --My Boring Lamp (extract) Zinaida Gippius (1869-1945) --'A shameless thing, for ilka vileness able. . .' --Devillet --What Have We Done to It? Ivan Bunin (1870-1953) --The Artist (Chekhov) Teffi, pseudonym of Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya (1872-1952) --Before a Map of Russia Mikhail Kuzmin (1872-1936) --Alexandrian Songs (extract) --A Message Valery Bryusov (1873-1924) --'What if we suffered from the lash. . .' Maximilian Voloshin (1877-1932) --Terror --In the Bottomless Pit --Russia (extract) --'The violets of waves, the hyacinths of sea-foam. . .' --Civil War (extract) Alexander Blok (1880-1921) --The Stranger --'She came in out of the frost. . .' --'When you stand in my path. . .' --The Sugar Angel --In a Restaurant --Dances of Death (extract) --The Kite --The Twelve (extract) Velimir Khlebnikov, pseudonym of Viktor Vladimirovich Khlebnikov (1885-1922) --Laugh Chant --Menagerie --'People, years and nations. . .' --An Appeal by the Chairmen of the Terrestrial Globe (extract) --Night in a Trench (extract) --The One Book (extract) --Love Flight --Night in Persia --Hunger --Hunger (extract) --'The air is split into black branches. . .' --'Moscow, who are you?. . .' --'A police station's a fine place. . .' --Zangezi (extract) --'I, a butterfly that has flown. . .' --The Solitary Player --'Once more, once more. . .' Sofia Parnok (1885-1933) --A Childhood Memory --'They've cut a hole in the deep. . .' --'I pardon all your sins. . .' Nikolay Gumilyov (1886-1921) --Stars' Terror (extract) --'You shall recall me yet, and more than once. . .' --Ezbekiya --The Lost Tram --The Sixth Sense Vladislav Khodasevich (1886-1939) --The Grain's Path --The Monkey --To a Guest --Ballad of the Heavy Lyre --'Twilight was turning to darkness outside. . .' --Shape Ships to Seek --In Front of the Mirror --Plainsong --The Dactyls --Whyever Not? --Janus --The Monument Anna Akhmatova, pseudonym of Anna Gorenko (1889-1966) --'The pillow's just as hot. . .' --Song of a Last Encounter --'Careful, puss, there's an owl. . .' --'We're all boozers and floozies here. . .' --'We had thought we were beggars. . .' --Prayer --Epic Motifs (extract) --The Muse --In Memory of Sergey Yesenin --Epigram --Voronezh --Imitation of the Armenian --Answer --Mayakovsky in the Year 1913 --Requiem (extract) --Music --Three Poems (extract) Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) --February --Spring --Weeping Garden --Storm, Instantaneous Forever --In Memory of Marina Tsvetaeva (extract) --Hamlet --Christmas Star Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) --'Cautious, toneless sound. . .' --'From the dimly lit hall. . .' --'To read only children's tales. . .' --'Newly reaped ears of early wheat. . .' --Silentium --'No, not the moon - the bright face of a clock. . .' --The Admiralty --Dombey and Son --Concerning the chorus in Euripides --'On the black square of the Kremlin. . .' --Solominka --'The thread of golden honey flowed from the bottle. . .' --'Heaviness, tenderness - sisters - your marks are the same. . .' --'Take from my palms some sun to bring you joy. . .' --'I was washing at night out in the yard. . .' --The Horseshoe Finder (A Pindaric Fragment) --Armenia --'Help me, O Lord, through this night. . .' --'After midnight, clean out of your hands. . .' --'Gotta keep living, though I've died twice. . .' --'Drawing the youthful Goethe to their breast. . .' --'Goldfinch, friend, I'll cock my head. . .' --'Deep in the mountain the idol rests. . .' --'You're not alone. You haven't died. . .' --'Where can I hide in this January?. . .' --'Breaks in round bays, and shingle, and blue. . .' --'Armed with wasp-vision, with the vision of wasps. . .' --'I'll say this in a whisper, in draft. . .' Anna Prismanova (1892-1960) --The Jolt --Blood and Bone Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) --To Osip Mandelstam --'Black as the pupil of an eye, sucking at light. . .' --Death is a No (extract) --Roland's Horn --To Mayakovsky --An Attempt at Jealousy --The Ratcatcher (extract) --Phaedra (extract) --To Mayakovsky (extract) --Homesickness Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) --What About You? --The Backbone Flute (extract) --A Cloud in Trousers (extract) --A Good Attitude to Horses --A Richt Respeck for Cuddies --To Yesenin --Anent the Deeference o Tastes Georgy Ivanov (1894-1958) --'It's good that Russia has no Tsar. . .' --'The stars glow blue. The trees are swaying. . .' --'Everything's changed, nothing has changed. . .' --'Thirty years now Russia's lived in fetters. . .' --'Nothing, nothing will be returned. . .' --'Where can I look, where can I go. . .' --'Led by what is shining. . .' --'Some things succeed, and some things fail . . .' --'One mirror must mirror another. . .' --'No more Europe, no more America. . .' --'I love a despairing peace. . .' --'I still find charm in little accidental. . .' --To Alexander Pushkin --'No more brushing of teeth. . .' --'After plodding year after year. . .' --'The smokey blotches of the neighbours' windows. . .' --'Spring exultation, nightingales, the moon. . .' --'Say a few more words to me. . .' Sergey Yesenin (1895-1925) --'Mist climbs from the lake. . .' --The Backstreets of Moscow --Cigarette Pedlars --Letter to my Mother --To Kachalov's Dog --'Poor poet, was that really you. . .' --'Oh, to hell with this storm, damn this snow and hail. . .' --'Farewell, dear friend, farewell. . .' Nikolay Oleinikov (1898-1937) --The Beetle Nikolay Zabolotsky (1903-58) --The Face of a Horse --The Wedding --Goodbye to Friends --'Somewhere not far from Magadan. . .' --Last Love (extract) Alexander Vvedensky (1904-41) --Conversation about the Absence of Poetry --Where. When Daniil Kharms, pseudonym of Daniil Yuvachov (1905-42) --Prayer before Sleep 28 March 1931 at Seven O'Clock in the Evening --The Constancy of Merriment and Dirt --A Fairy Tale --Blue Notebook, No. 10 --Old Woman Falling Out --'Here's the rain crashing down. . .' --'This is how hunger begins. . .' --'A man once walked out of his house. . .' Varlam Shalamov (1907-82) --'Flying in at my window. . .' --'Snow keeps falling night and day. . .' --Roncesvalles --Baratynsky --'Memory has veiled. . .' --'By candlelight. . .' --I Believe --Purple Honey --Tools --'And so I keep going. . .' --'They say we plough shallow. . .' --'All that is human slips away. . .' --Avvakum in Pustozyorsk --'Our court nightingale. . .' --'Alive not by bread alone. . .' --'I felt in soul and body. . .' --'I went out into the clean air. . .' --'I thought they would make us the heroes. . .' --'Not to set fire to myself. . .' Arseny Tarkovsky (1907-89) --On the Bank --Paul Klee --First Trysts --Field Hospital --How It Was Maria Petrovykh (1908-79) --Spell (extract) --'Love me. I am pitch black. . .' --'March saw winter gain in strength. . .' --The Line of the Horizon --'I'm nothing to you, I mean zero. . .' --'Words lying empty, without breathing. . .' Olga Berggolts (1910-75) --Ordeal (extract) --'You took me. . .' --'We pronounced. . .' --'Oh don't look back. . .' --'I spent all day at the meeting. . .' Semyon Lipkin (1911-2003) --By the Sea --'He who gave the wind its weight. . .' Lev Ozerov, pseudonym of Lev Adolfovich Goldberg (1914-96) --'An oar is lying now on the sand. . .' --'The dead are speaking. Without full stops. . .' --'The world's too big; it can't be scanned in verse. . .' --Pasternak --Shmuel Halkin --Shalamov Konstantin Simonov (1915-79) --Tears Cost Her Nothing Anyway --Wait for Me Alexander Galich, pseudonym of Ginzburg Alexander Arkadievich (1918-77) --Lenochka --Behind Seven Fences --Clouds Boris Slutsky (1919-86) --'This sulking man with a self-inflicted wound. . .' --The Hospital --About the Jews --God --The Master --'June would be clammy, January crisp. . .' --All Rules are Incorrect --'With that old woman I was cold-polite. . .' --Strange Things --'Brought up in greedy simplicity. . .' --'I was at fault all round. . .' --'What did they do. . .' --'I had a bird in my hand. . .' --'Always busy, plagued by anxiety. . .' David Samoilov, pseudonym of David Samuilovich Kaufman (1920-90) --The Forties --The Ballad of a German Censor Rasul Gamzatov (1923-2003) --Cranes Alexander Mejirov (1923-2009) --'I began to grow old. . .' Bulat Okudzhava (1924-97) --Black Cat Yevgeny Vinokurov (1925-93) --Missing the Troop Train Inna Lisnianskaya (1928-2014) --Jealousy --Our Meeting --'Naked thoughts live unembellished. . .' Vladimir Kornilov (1928-2002) --Forty Years Later --Freedom Andrey Voznesensky (1933-2010) --To Bella Akhmadulina Yevgeny Yevtushenko (b. 1932) --Loss Sergey Chudakov (1937-early 1990s?) --'They played Pushkin on a grand piano. . .' Bella Akhmadulina (1937-2010) --Music Lessons Vladimir Vysotsky (1938-80) --Wayward Steeds (extract) Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) --Six Years Later --On Love --Odysseus to Telemachus --A Part of Speech --Performance (extract) Three More Recent Poets Dmitry Prigov (1940-2007) --Battle of Kulikovo (extract) Elena Shvarts (1948-2010) --'How shameful it is to grow old. . .' --On the Street --Song Marina Boroditskaya (b. 1954) --'Cordelia, you are a fool! Would it have been. . .' --'And again they'll order a translation. . .' Four Poems by Non-Russians Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961) --Prose of the Trans-Siberian Railway and of 'Petite Jehanne de France' (extract) Nancy Mattson (b. 1947) --Learning the Letter Щ Robert Chandler (b. 1953) --For Yelena Andy Croft (b. 1956) --Fellow Travellers (extract) Further Reading Acknowledgements Notes Index of Titles and First Lines

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    A marvelous introduction to Russian poetry for the English-speaker, it won the English PEN award for translation, taking us from the 18th through the 20th Centuries, and most heavily treats the 20th. I'm reading it simultaneously with a 1962 Penguin Book of Russian Verse which is bilingual, with prose translations. This book's timespan includes the wondrous Brodsky/ Voznesensky/Akhmadulina generation, all the way up to recent poets… Very fun to compare, when the same poems are selected, the pros A marvelous introduction to Russian poetry for the English-speaker, it won the English PEN award for translation, taking us from the 18th through the 20th Centuries, and most heavily treats the 20th. I'm reading it simultaneously with a 1962 Penguin Book of Russian Verse which is bilingual, with prose translations. This book's timespan includes the wondrous Brodsky/ Voznesensky/Akhmadulina generation, all the way up to recent poets… Very fun to compare, when the same poems are selected, the prose translation with the verse. Includes the 'stepped' poems of Mayakovsky, which the older version didn't have the room to reproduce. Includes Arseny Tarkovsky, familiar to many as the father of the film director, whose poems are used to such dazzling effect in the film The Mirror, and Sofia Parnok, whose affair with Marina Tsvetaeyeva inspired a waterfall of stellar verse from the latter. Not as compendious as the Yevtushenko anthology of 20th Century Russian verse, but incredibly useful. ******************* I'm especially liking how the editors have included excellent translations of poets they feel are overlooked, people I've never heard of, like Anna Prismanova, Varlam Shalamov, and Georgy Ivanov, and some fantastic translations of the young peasant-poet Yesenin (Esenin it's sometimes spelled)--contemporary of Akhmatova/Pasternak/Mayakovsky generation--often called the Silver age. Love the two page biographies of the poets, help us understand their personalities and the aspects of life which most heavily come to bear on their work. Beautiful translation of Christmas Star by Pasternak, also his Hamlet which, we were told, in whose figure he coalesced the Shakespeare figure, Christ, and himself. An incredible improvement in comparison with the one in my 1958 original translation of Doctor Zhivago. Hamlet too was a Zhivago poem. How shocking that I’d never really paid attention to the poems in Doctor Zhivago… the translations aren’t very exciting. Christmas Star is beautifully translated here—by Peter Oram—and the rhyme scheme—the music! Incredible! It’s four pages or I would copy the whole thing here: “The winter was deep. Wind whistled and howled, In the cave in the hills it was bitterly cold but the child lay asleep, for the breath of an ox keep the coldness at bay. Farm animals’ breathing was rising and wreathing: a warm haze hung over the crib where he lay. The shepherds arose though they’d not woken quite, shook the chaff off their coats from the barley and oats, stared out from their cliff through the depths of the night. Far away, snowy fields, with a chapel nearby old graves and their railings, a snowbound farm trailer and over the graveyard the starstudded night… It’s the thing hardest to capture, the rhythm and rhyme, without tying the whole thing up in a hopeless stilted mess (i.e. Nabokov’s awful translations of Russian verse…). I only regret there’s not more Pasternak in this, I haven’t read much of him, and to find such marvelous translations! There’s lots of Mandelstam, I see he must be a favorite of the book’s editors. He’s a variegated poet—moreso than I’d realized… Classicist, but also modern. Here’s a bit of a long poem, “The Horseshoe Finder (A Pindaric Fragment)” 1923: “A rustle runs along the trees like some green ball. Children play at knucklebones with vertebrae of dead animals. The fragile chronology of our era is drawing to a close. Thanks for everything that was: I made mistakes myself, fell astray, botched my reckoning. The era rang, like a golden sphere, hollow, molded, sustained by no one….” There’s a wonderful translation of Mayakovsky’s poem on the suicide of Yesenin in 1925, when he himself would follow the same path five years later. Criticism, sympathy, still the hope that life is worth it. And defense of the genius of the peasant poet/hooligan against the growing avalanche of mediocrities climbing up the literary-bureaucratic ladder career ladder. Here’s part of it…(these are stepped, I don't know why Goodreads isn't stepping them. I'm putting > where it is supposed to be a return and a tab, >> for two tabs): “The nation, >and the wordsmith’s brotherhood have lost >the apprentice drunkard of the word. And people come >with their supply of trashy verse, unchanged >from previous deaths >>regurgitated, defile your grave >with doggerel >>or worse == Is that >how poet’s lives >>are celebrated?…”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eadweard

    I liked the post-WWII ones the most, I hadn't read any of them before. And of course, the famous Silver Age ones. 1 THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Gavrila Derzhavin (1743–1816) Ivan Krylov (1769–1844) 2 AROUND PUSHKIN Vasily Zhukovsky (1783–1852) Konstantin Batyushkov (1787–1855) Prince Pyotr Vyazemsky (1792–1878) Wilhelm Küchelbecker (1797–1846) Anton Delvig (1798–1831) Yevgeny Baratynsky (1800–44) Nikolay Yazykov (1803–46) 3 ALEXANDER PUSHKIN Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837) 4 AFTER PUSHKIN Fyodor Tyutchev (1803–73) Mikhai I liked the post-WWII ones the most, I hadn't read any of them before. And of course, the famous Silver Age ones. 1 THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Gavrila Derzhavin (1743–1816) Ivan Krylov (1769–1844) 2 AROUND PUSHKIN Vasily Zhukovsky (1783–1852) Konstantin Batyushkov (1787–1855) Prince Pyotr Vyazemsky (1792–1878) Wilhelm Küchelbecker (1797–1846) Anton Delvig (1798–1831) Yevgeny Baratynsky (1800–44) Nikolay Yazykov (1803–46) 3 ALEXANDER PUSHKIN Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837) 4 AFTER PUSHKIN Fyodor Tyutchev (1803–73) Mikhail Lermontov (1814–41) A. K. Tolstoy (1817–75) Afanasy Fet (1820–92) Apollon Maikov (1821–97) Nikolay Nekrasov (1821–78) 5 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY Innokenty Annensky (1855–1909) Fyodor Sologub (1863–1927) Zinaida Gippius (1869–1945) Ivan Bunin (1870–1953) Teffi (1872–1952) Mikhail Kuzmin (1872–1936) Valery Bryusov (1873–1924) Maximilian Voloshin (1877–1932) Alexander Blok (1880–1921) Velimir Khlebnikov (1885–1922) Sofia Parnok (1885–1933) Nikolay Gumilyov (1886–1921) Vladislav Khodasevich (1886–1939) Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966) Boris Pasternak (1890–1960) Osip Mandelstam (1891–1938) Anna Prismanova (1892–1960) Marina Tsvetaeva (1892–1941) Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893–1930) Georgy Ivanov (1894–1958) Sergey Yesenin (1895–1925) Nikolay Oleinikov (1898–1937) Nikolay Zabolotsky (1903–58) Alexander Vvedensky (1904–41) Daniil Kharms (1905–42) Varlam Shalamov (1907–82) Arseny Tarkovsky (1907–89) Maria Petrovykh (1908–79) Olga Berggolts (1910–75) Semyon Lipkin (1911–2003) Lev Ozerov (1914–96) Konstantin Simonov (1915–79) Alexander Galich (1918 –77) Boris Slutsky (1919–86) David Samoilov (1920–90) Rasul Gamzatov (1923–2003) Alexander Mejirov (1923–2009) Bulat Okudzhava (1924–97) Yevgeny Vinokurov (1925–93) Inna Lisnianskaya (1928–2014) Vladimir Kornilov (1928–2002) Andrey Voznesensky (1933–2010) Yevgeny Yevtushenko (b. 1932) Sergey Chudakov (1937–early 1990s) Bella Akhmadulina (1937–2010) Vladimir Vysotsky (1938–80) Joseph Brodsky (1940–96) 6 THREE MORE RECENT POETS Dmitry Prigov (1940–2007) Elena Shvarts (1948–2010) Marina Boroditskaya (b. 1954)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caity

    I absolutely loved this collection. I have no idea why there aren't as many reviews for it. The structure of this was brilliant, it was so amazing to have a short biography of the poet to make you aware of the historical context of their writing. The translations were beautiful and extensive notes provided at the back were really helpful. I really wish more people were aware of this collection and I've found a fair few poets that I want to explore more of their work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Iina

    Utterly brilliant intro to Russian poetry. Requires no proper knowledge, and will take you through history with verse, and you acquire knowledge about Russia without even realising it. I really enjoyed reading this book bit by bit over a few weeks, dipping in and out of the poetry and making my way through the centuries.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joséphine

    NB: 20th century poetry takes up 60% of the book My absolute favourites were Derzhavin, Pushkin, Tyutchev, Fet, Annensky, Yevtushenko. Comparing these to other translations in English of Tyutchev's poems, it's clear that the quality is excellent. And it won the English PEN award, if you're familiar with it (I'm not)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maia

    well worth getting, very different from the previous Penguin Russian poetry (also essential), verse translations not prose transliterations and a different taste in authors. One of the few books i bought in the last 5 years. Translations by various authors/translators with very different results. Whether you know a lot of Russian poetry and want a selection of more translations or you're a beginner wanting to know where to dive in, highly recommended

  9. 4 out of 5

    فلاح رحيم

    To get a taste of this fascinating collection, here is an extract from a poem by Maximilian Voloshin: From "Civil War": And from the ranks of both armies- the same voice, the same refrain: "He who is not with us is against us. You must take sides. Justice is ours." And I stand alone in the midst of them, amidst the roar of fire and smoke, and pray with all my strength for those who fight on this side, and on that side." (1919) Tr. Robert Chandler

  10. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    On the abyss’s edge we slide and soon will plunge head first; our life is given us with our death – and we, when we are born, begin to die. Without an ounce of pity, death strikes all things, brings to nothing stars, and suns are quenched by her cold breath – destroyer of the universe. I need to find this book as soon as possible.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ele

    4.5 stars. I'm pretty sure there might be better translations than featured here, though these are still very good. Translating poetry is one of the most difficult things one can do. There aren't as many female poets as I would have liked (no anthology ever gives a good-size portion, sadly), but it does include what we could call a 'Russian Sappho', Sofia Parnok. It does not include Anna Petrovna Bunina, of which was their first published female poet. It is separated largely centered on Alexande 4.5 stars. I'm pretty sure there might be better translations than featured here, though these are still very good. Translating poetry is one of the most difficult things one can do. There aren't as many female poets as I would have liked (no anthology ever gives a good-size portion, sadly), but it does include what we could call a 'Russian Sappho', Sofia Parnok. It does not include Anna Petrovna Bunina, of which was their first published female poet. It is separated largely centered on Alexander Pushkin, being separated in the chapters 'Around Puskin' and 'After Pushkin'. It gives brief biographies of each poet and also has a timeline. There are some quite intriguing pieces of unexpected Russian history. For example, Pushkin was mixed-race, his great-grandfather the slave-turned-adoptive son of Peter the Great. And the Russian people seem to be more in touch with nature, these poems make it seem. One can browse through and choose poets that capture their interest. I am especially interested in Velimir Khlebnikov and Boris Slutsky, and am intrigued in the animal protection poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky and others. This book also contains Leo Tolstoy's cousin Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy and the novelist Boris Pasternak.

  12. 4 out of 5

    sassafrass

    I wanted to start off this review pretentious, with a snippet of a poem I enjoyed, but the trouble is there were in the end too many for me to narrow it down. This is a remarkable collection, and provided me with a real in road into not just Russian poetry, but history and culture. Each poet also came with a miniature biography at the start of their section, with context for the upcoming works as well as recommendations for other poems that didn't make the editorial cut but are also worth lookin I wanted to start off this review pretentious, with a snippet of a poem I enjoyed, but the trouble is there were in the end too many for me to narrow it down. This is a remarkable collection, and provided me with a real in road into not just Russian poetry, but history and culture. Each poet also came with a miniature biography at the start of their section, with context for the upcoming works as well as recommendations for other poems that didn't make the editorial cut but are also worth looking into. My personal favourite poets - since, again, I dogeared so many individual poems we'd be here all day to list them - are: Pushkin (obviously, I know, but also - Pushkin now smokes so many Western poets for me its almost laughable), Konstantin Batyushkov,Fydor Tyutchev, Innokenty Annensky, Anna Akhmatova, Varlam Shalamov, Elena Shvarts. And to conclude, this paragraph from the introduction was all I needed to buy the book in the first place, perhaps it will also charm you into the same: In the development of a culture, as in the life of an individual, poetry comes before prose. In the life of a country, the oral epic comes before the novel; in the life of an individual, nursery rhymes come before stories. And poetry arises from many sources. Lyric poetry springs from prayers, charms and magic spells; narrative poetry from the need to preserve important myths in a memorable form. Poetry; food for the soul.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Phil Greaney

    If you're in an doubt as to the centrality of Pushkin to Russian poetry, this collection will put that to bed. (He appears as central to Russian literature as Shakespeare is to English.) The early part is organised around him - before, during and after - before it begins with Russian poetry (and later, with non-Russian poetry, about Russia). A brief literary biography is devoted to each poet before a selection begins. In the case of Teffi, for example, that's just the one poem; for Mandelstam (an If you're in an doubt as to the centrality of Pushkin to Russian poetry, this collection will put that to bed. (He appears as central to Russian literature as Shakespeare is to English.) The early part is organised around him - before, during and after - before it begins with Russian poetry (and later, with non-Russian poetry, about Russia). A brief literary biography is devoted to each poet before a selection begins. In the case of Teffi, for example, that's just the one poem; for Mandelstam (an outstanding poet, anywhere on earth), that's more than a dozen pages. Mayakovsky is there of course and so is Yevtushenko and Akhmatova, alongside a great many others I was pleased to be introduced to, which is rather the point of a book like this I think: ground yourself in those poets you know and navigate those you don't around them. It's a beautiful collection and one can't hope for a better one. I trust the translators although some of the language seems a little forced and sits uneasily. It must be incredibly difficult to translate well, to capture the spirit of the poem, and remain accurate. Since I can't read Russian, an English translation like this will suffice. I read this over several months as part of my reading of Russian literature. Highly recommend you dip your toe.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter Crofts

    Fairly exhaustive. Lots of poets here that you're not going to find in English translation anywhere else. The bios of each poet are quite detailed, though at times it seems at the expense of the number of poems translated. Pushkin and other "Golden Age" Russian poets are given a significant amount of space. The 20th century post revolution poets' bios are are an assemblage of soul crushing brutality. All of the major poets of this period are given enough space to get some feel for them. There are Fairly exhaustive. Lots of poets here that you're not going to find in English translation anywhere else. The bios of each poet are quite detailed, though at times it seems at the expense of the number of poems translated. Pushkin and other "Golden Age" Russian poets are given a significant amount of space. The 20th century post revolution poets' bios are are an assemblage of soul crushing brutality. All of the major poets of this period are given enough space to get some feel for them. There are a fair number of "bleeding chunks" pulled out of longer poems which always leave me a bit frustrated as I wonder what is missing and how does the fragment resonate within the larger whole. It can become a distraction. An odd, though not irritatingly so, feature is a few of the poems are translated into Scots. Which then attract their own footnotes so they can be understood. All told once you pick this up its' hard to put it down. Expect to disappear for a couple of days at least.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alaa

    I wasn't really familiar with Russian poets/poetry . This book did the introductions, and I'm glad of it. You really do get a glimpse of the " cultural memory" and the history of a certain country from the writing of its poets. Really fascinating, it's like they're the voices of its anguish, hopes, and dreams.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bastián Olea Herrera

    Wonderful anthology of poetry, with short and interesting introductions to each author. My only complaint is the clear bias in anti-soviet works represented, and a complete lack of any socialist-related prose.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Snoakes

    I've been trying to get into poetry a bit, but for me this was just a step too far. After over a year I've finally accepted that I won't pick it up again and given up. More my fault than the book's though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    I adore this collection. I’ve read it on and off for the past couple of months and I’ll definitely keep it with me to keep reading through it. I love the poets in here. Especially Krylov, Pushkin (dug), Shalamov, Fet, Mandelstam, Pasternak, Akhmatova, and many more.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben Lovegrove

    Diverse selection of poetry in translation from 18th century up to modern era. Includes some of the best by Pushkin and Lermontov but also some less well known poets who deserve to be more widely read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jazzy Lemon

    A brilliant collection of well-translated Russian poetry with a potted history of each author.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Kerslake

    I have been reading nineteenth and occasionally twentieth century Russian prose literature for the whole of my adult life. Starting with Turgenev, then Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and the rest. However, as Robert Chandler tells us in the introduction to this wonderful book, poetry not prose is what matters most to Russians. Until reading this book I had read some verse of Pushkin's but little else really. I now know what I have been missing. Even in translation the examples of Russian poetry chosen for t I have been reading nineteenth and occasionally twentieth century Russian prose literature for the whole of my adult life. Starting with Turgenev, then Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and the rest. However, as Robert Chandler tells us in the introduction to this wonderful book, poetry not prose is what matters most to Russians. Until reading this book I had read some verse of Pushkin's but little else really. I now know what I have been missing. Even in translation the examples of Russian poetry chosen for this book are so impressive that encountering them was, for me, a genuine revelation. Like the great prose writers, Russian poets tend towards the big questions of life, the universe and everything. There are too many great lines I could quote but I'll settle for one little gem of perception that particularly appealed to me. It comes from 'Avvakum in Pustozyorsk' by Varlam Shalamov (1907-82): 'True joy often wears a garment of tears'. Wow!

  22. 5 out of 5

    wpschrec

    A really good collection of Russian Poetry. It covered a lot of history just in the short biographies for each writer. Some of my favorites were Derzhavin, Krylov, Lermontov, Mandelstam, and of course Pushkin. I definitely preferred the 1800s poetry. After the fall of the Romanovs, there were a great variety of poets movements and I didn't care for many of them. Mandelstam was the one 1900s poet that I really liked.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Scott Stelter

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kherlen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dean

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan Harley

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lily

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