Ever since Pushkin, Russian poets have been famous for their ability to combine private and public experience in lyric poetry of a comprehensiveness and intensity unmatched elsewhere.
Ranging in extremes from the melting tenderness of unrequited love to the bitter comedy of political chaos, this collection of poems covering two centuries includes work by Lermontov, Tyutchev, Fet, Annensky,Mayakovsky, Bely, Mandelstam, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Brodsky and others less celebrated but no less extraordinary.
The text is divided into six sections. Russian poets constantly reflect on their art, so the first section is appropriately entitled "The Muse".
Their other great topic is Russia herself, explored in parts two and three.
Part four presents the inner world, parts five and six traditional themes of love and mortality.
Poetry has often been a matter of life and death in Russia, where Mandelstam was not the only poet to perish in the Gulag.
The comfortable private domain familiar to many English and American writers barely exists in a country where political realities are exigent - one reason for the fierce intensity found in so many of these poems.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 256 pages
- Publisher: Everyman
- Publication Date: 07/05/2009
- Category: Literary studies: poetry & poets
- ISBN: 9781841597805
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Review by tomcatMurr
A Bible for lovers of Russian poetry (in English). All the major poems, and some delicate blooms from the forgotten byways. Ranges from The Golden Age of Pushkin and Lermontov, The Silver Age of Blok and Akhmatova, The High Soviet period with Tsvetaeva, Pasternak and Mandelstam, and The Late Soviet period of the incomparable Brodsky and the late and greatly lamented Voznesensky.Translators include Nabokov, D.M. Thomas, McDuff, C.M. Bowra (yes him!) and Stallworthy and France.Beautifully presented in the Everyman's Library Pocket Poet's series (totally brilliant idea). Small enough to slip in your jacket pocket, hardcover, in gorgeous red linen, thick creamy paper, and red ribbon marker. To die for.