Entries Tagged as 'Russians'

From Rilke to Marina Tsvetaeva

Comments   0   Date Arrow  November 9, 2023 at 10:18am   User  by Mark Willis

Reading Rilke’s Requiem for a Friend reminded me of a poem that was its direct descendant, Marina Tsvetaeva’s “Novogodnee” (”New Year’s Greeting”). Tsvetaeva wrote the poem in Paris in an outpouring of grief and nervous exhaustion after Rilke’s death in 1926. Tsvetaeva and Rilke had a deeply expressed poets’ friendship that paralleled the […]

Tagged   Rainier Maria Rilke · Russians · poetryComments  Add Your Comment

Osip Mandelstam: The Stalin Epigram

Comments   0   Date Arrow  October 29, 2023 at 3:24pm   User  by Mark Willis

[Source: Wikimedia Commons]
Osip Mandelstam never wrote this poem down. Only a handful of his most trusted friends ever heard it. One of them betrayed him. After his arrest in the fall of 1934, his interrogator at the Lubiyanka Prison in Moscow confronted him with this hand-written copy.
The Stalin Epigram
We live, but we do not feel […]

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Introducing Anna Akhmatova

Comments   0   Date Arrow  October 28, 2023 at 7:37am   User  by Mark Willis

Nathan Altman. Portrait of Anna Akhmatova. 1914. Oil on canvas. 123.5 x 103.2 cm. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. [Source: Anna Akhmatova Foundation]

Tagged   Akhmatova · Russians · poetry · ArtComments  Add Your Comment

Osip Mandelstam: “The Goldfinch”

Comments   0   Date Arrow  October 9, 2023 at 6:18am   User  by Mark Willis

Birds and birdsong abound in the poetry of Osip Mandelstam. In his later poetry, written after his arrest and internal exile in Voronezh in 1935-7, the goldfinch came to symbolize an unstoppable yearning for freedom and self-expression. Joseph Brodsky heard the Voronezh poems directly from Nadezhda Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova, who preserved the poems in […]

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Vygotsky & Bakhtin, Madelstam & Walter Benjamin

Comments   0   Date Arrow  October 3, 2023 at 6:31am   User  by Mark Willis

My friend and teacher Nancy Mack invited me to visit her seminar on Lev Vygotsky, Mikhail Bakhtin, and the social nature of language. When I took her course ten years ago, it was the most stimulating subject I encountered in graduate school. It tapped my long-standing interest in Russian literature and led eventually to the […]

Tagged   Osip Mandelstam · Russians · poetry · Walter BenjaminComments  Add Your Comment

“The Swallow” by Osip Mandelstam

Comments   1   Date Arrow  October 2, 2023 at 10:17am   User  by Mark Willis

Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky appended lines from Osip Mandelstam’s poem “The Swallow” as an epigraph to the final chapter of his seminal treatise in psycholinguistics, Thought and Language (1934). It wasn’t a heedless literary allusion. In A Word is the Search for It, I read the epigraph as a carefully considered subtext that skirted the […]

Tagged   Osip Mandelstam · Russians · poetryComments  Add Your Comment