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Backbone Flute: Selected Poetry Of Vladimir Mayakovsky (English and Russian Edition) Paperback – April 18, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 18, 2008)
  • Language: English, Russian
  • ISBN-10: 1438211643
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438211640
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read the superb little City Lights book of Mayakovsky's work (Listen! Early Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series), translated by Maria Enzensberger), and Kneller's translations holds up to that standard. The book has a decent selection of Mayakovsky's poetry, from various periods in his life. It's easy to get the sense that Kneller put a lot of time into making Mayakovsky's work both rigidly artistic while at the same time practical and vernacular, and this is ultimately why so many translations fail.

It is unfortunate that this book fails on a more superficial level: the content is fine but the book as a book is just embarrassing. There are numerous typos, including the lack of periods. It's quite obvious because it occurs so frequently. Also, the formating (most noticeably the m-dashes) is not consistent. I found myself going back and forth between the Russian and the English (both on facing pages), and finding quite easily inconsistencies.

The notes that are in the back of the book are also inconsistent. The note titles in the back will sometimes (but not always!) be the same as the words they are referencing in the text. For example, "Good!" is in the text, and "Good" is what the reference page lists. Now obviously this isn't a crucial problem, but it is annoying to see that a published book is being printed with such juvenile errors.

Also, let me take a brief moment to call out some "interesting" decisions that were made in the book layout. The book begins with a title page (that has a page number on it!); the book continues with its copyright page, which has a mere two lines (okay, it's an self-published book, but it's noticeably amateur).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clearly the master of the Russian formalist movement I do love me some Mayakovsky. It loses a little in translation but the Russian is in the book as well. Nice selection and well edited this book should be standard reading for all poetry nerds.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Generally, being a native speaker of Russian, I have no need for English translations of Russian poetry, and I particularly don’t care for translations which don’t bother with rhymes on the premise that modern English poetry is rather dismissive of them.
However, I needed an English translation of Mayakovsky, and after sifting through a few I didn’t like, I came across this book. Andrey Kneller’s versions of Mayakovsky were a very pleasant surprise. I could feel Mayakovsky’s very special verve and vitality in his translations, I liked the way the translator followed the unique rhythm and beat of the original, and I did feel that Mayakovsky found a congenial spirit in these English versions. I am looking forward to seeing what other Russian poets Kneller translated into English.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great gift for English speakers who know Russian or Russian speakers who know English because it has the translations so you can read the poem and have your own interpretation and then read the translation and see how someone else interpreted it differently or the same.
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Format: Paperback
I am a lover of all forms of poetry, but never once considered just how much passion and skill it takes to capture the essence of a poem and then change it's tongue, all while retain its rhyme, cadence and flow. Andrey has done exactly that.
Amazing work!
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