Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.75 shipping
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 29, 2015
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“There is no single book that brings together such a range of poets as this one does. . . . The ultimate goal of any translation is to inspire. . . . If immersion in this volume contributes to further creativity of this sort, it will have justified its place on our bookshelves.” —The Times Literary Supplement
“Marvellous.” —New Statesman
“A major and surely lasting achievement that will represent Russian poetry memorably to a new generation of anglophone readers.” —Translation and Literature Review
“A stunning anthology. It is a treasure house of poetic riches and a monument to the lives of those who created them.” —London Grip
“A lucky find for Slavic scholars, English-speaking Russophiles, and poetry lovers of many stripes . . . Even if Russia cannot fully be understood, its poetry, at least, is something to be believed in.” —Russian Life
“A lively collection that will be a standard work for years to come.” —Australian Book Review
“Ambitious—in scope, biographical apparatus and in what it expects of its translators . . . The names . . . form the 20th century’s poetic roll of honour. . . . Anthologies such as this should remind [the children of the new Russia] why their country’s poetry once so greatly mattered.” —The Observer
“This extraordinary anthology has no precedent or peer. . . . Finally, a comprehensive collection of fine, often extraordinarily fine, translations, with accurate and acute background and critical information . . . This book provides a much-needed entry into Russian poetry.” —PN Review
“Open[s] up exciting new horizons. Russian literature, after Stalin, suddenly looks very different.” —Standpoint
“Russia’s proud poetic heritage is revived brilliantly in English in this new anthology.” —RTÉ Ten
“A lively collection complete with informative pen portraits . . . It embraces the sweep of modern Russian history, including the now somewhat neglected Soviet period, imparting something of the profundity, humanity and suffering of that experience, whilst remaining upbeat and amusing, in the best traditions of Russian art.” —The Spokesman
“A major advance in the appreciation of Russian poetry in the West . . . The breadth of coverage is outstanding.” —Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies
“It is tempting to describe this book as encyclopaedic. . . . Of course it is not. But the great quantity and range of material that is included, plus the wonderfully informative introduction, bibliography and notes that we have come to expect of any work in which Robert Chandler has had a hand, do indeed take it a long way towards qualifying for that descriptor.” —East-West Review
About the Author
Robert Chandler is an acclaimed poet and translator. His many translations from Russian include works by Aleksandr Pushkin, Nikolay Leskov, Vasily Grossman, and Andrey Platonov; his anthologies Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida and Russian Magic Tales are both published by Penguin Classics.
Irina Mashinski is a bilingual poet and co-founder of the StoSvet literary project. Her most recent collection is 2013's Ophelia i masterok [Ophelia and the Trowel].
Boris Dralyuk is a Lecturer in Russian at the University of St Andrews and translator of many books from Russian, including, most recently, Isaac Babel's Red Cavalry (2014).
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The order of presentation of the poets and their work is by date of birth, and they are further marshalled into sections titled The Eighteenth Century, Around Pushkin, Pushkin, After Pushkin, The Twentieth Century and Three More Recent Poets.
For each poet a short biography is provided, which serves also as an introduction to his or her poems. Robert Chandler explains in his Introduction that the number of pages given to a poet does not always reflect the editors' estimate of his or her importance. Their aim, he writes, has been to include only translations that work as poems in English. Given that we are turning to a volume that presents the poems only in English (very little Russian is found in the entire volume*), most of us will welcome that decision.
When it comes to Innokenty Annesky (1855-1909), however, we cannot help but share the regret of the editors that although they 'would have liked to do more to expand his readership, [he] is exceptionally hard to translate'. So we are pleased to settle, with them, for six complete poems.
Fortunately, most of the poets and their work are much more accessible. Perhaps the most accessible of all is Ivan Krylov (1769-1844). The 11 Krylov poems selected here, translated by Gordon Pirie, could readily occupy a whole, large-format book, lavishly illustrated, intended for the delight of children and the parents and other adults who might read the poems to them.
There are other fun poems too, although the overall tone, especially in the Twentieth Century section, is often heavy. The great hardships and injustices that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, capped by Stalin's Great Purge, the Nazi invasion, the Leningrad Blockade and the Gulag, feature strongly in both poems and biographies. Suicides, executions, days of queuing outside prison (in hope of being allowed to pass-in something to comfort a loved one), internal exile, escape and expulsion from the Soviet bloc are all present too. For the most part, Russia's poets have exhibited no lack of courage, either in their private lives or in their choice of poetic material.
Another striking feature is the linkage over time both between individual poets and between the poems they have bequeathed to posterity. One poet has been influenced by, encouraged by, even mentored by another: one poem (not just its theme) has been taken-up by another, even a series of other poets. And in the Gulag, in the face of suppression and for want of paper, they famously committed to memory huge amounts of their own and other poets' writing.
It is tempting to describe this book as encyclopaedic. In as much as it opens only in about 1780 and is able to cover a mere fraction of the work of a finite number of poets, of course it is not. But the great quantity and range of material that is included, plus the wonderfully informative Introduction, Bibliography and Notes do indeed take it a long way towards qualifying for that descriptor.
* The Editors provide a bi-lingual Table of Contents and the full text, in Russian, of most of the poems in the book not still in copyright on https://pbrp.wordpress.com
For example, this translation of Afanasy Fet
"I come again with greetings new,
to tell you day is well begun;
to say that leaves are fresh with dew
and dappled in the early sun"
these are fine lines, but rhyme, to me, adds the wrong emphasis by forcibly conjoining new-dew and begun-sun. Both pairs of words make perfect sense, but also add nothing surprising. Without them, attention would naturally drop to the more interesting part of the poem: what kind of report is this? What kind of person needs a report of the weather? Why is the poetic project underlying a bureacratic report about the subject of spring? In other words, the rhyme is distracting, unsatisfying, and ultimately undermining.
My friend who knows more about russian poetry than I do tells me that russian poetry was and is written in a regular meter. Perhaps the translators chose to translate these poems in meter for that reason. To me, however, that was the wrong rather than authentic choice.