The Pillar of Fire

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This is the first major selection to appear in Britain from one of the finest poets of the Silver Age of Russian literature. The rich, exotic poetry of Nikolay Gumilyov (1886-1921) draws on his extensive travels in Europe and Africa. Its deepest concerns are man's inner being and striving for spiritual fulfilment. He was shot in 1921, unjustly accused of complicity in an anti-Bolshevik plot. His poems were banned and were not published in Russia until the late 1980s. Richard McKane's fluent translations are ...

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Overview

This is the first major selection to appear in Britain from one of the finest poets of the Silver Age of Russian literature. The rich, exotic poetry of Nikolay Gumilyov (1886-1921) draws on his extensive travels in Europe and Africa. Its deepest concerns are man's inner being and striving for spiritual fulfilment. He was shot in 1921, unjustly accused of complicity in an anti-Bolshevik plot. His poems were banned and were not published in Russia until the late 1980s. Richard McKane's fluent translations are complemented by a full introduction and detailed notes by the leading western Gumilyov scholar, Michael Basker. An appendix includes nine poems by Anna Akhmatova relating to Gumilyov.

Richard McKane is the translator of Anna Akhmatova: Selected Poems' (1989), and with Elizabeth McKane of Osip Mandelstam's The Moscow Notebooks' (1991) and The Voronezh Notebooks' (1996).

Michael Basker is one of the main contributors to the authoritative edition of the poet's work in preparation in Russia. He teaches at Bristol University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780856463105
  • Publisher: Anvil Press Poetry, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilyov (1886-1921) was the cofounder of the Acmeist school of poetry, later joined by Osip Mandelstam among others. After his marriage to Anna Akhmatova and before World War I, he travelled in Africa. He was shot in August 1921, falsely accused of participating in an anti-Bolshevik conspiracy. Richard McKane is a poet and translator of poetry from Russian and Turkish. He lives and works in London.
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Table of Contents

Translator's Preface 13
Introduction 17
In the Heavens 35
Thoughts 36
Rejection 37
Hyena 38
Jaguar 39
Terror 40
The Lion's Bride 41
The Gardens of my Soul 42
Plague 43
Giraffe 44
Lake Chad 45
Barbarians 49
Agamemnon's Warrior 51
Eagle 52
Christ 53
Marquis de Karabas 54
Journey to China 56
Lakes 58
Rendezvous 59
'Do you remember the palace...' 60
Kangaroo 61
Parrot 62
Reader of Books 63
'Flowers don't live in my home' 64
This Happened Often 65
Prayer 65
'The palm groves and the aloe thickets' 66
Evening 67
Captains I 68
To a Girl 73
Doubt 74
Fragment 75
Constantinople 76
Modernity 77
Sonnet 78
From a Dragon's Lair 79
I Believed, I Thought 80
Poisoned 81
By the Fire 82
The Ragamuffin 84
Venice 87
Conversation 88
Five-Foot Iambics 90
Judith 93
Stanzas 94
Bird 95
Cantos 96
The Sun of the Spirit 98
Mediaeval 99
To Someone Going Away 100
The Sea Again 102
African Night 103
The Advance 104
Chinese Girl 105
Heaven 106
Islam 107
Fable 108
Trees 113
Autumn 114
Childhood 115
The Ice Flow 116
I and You 117
The Peasant 118
The Workman 120
On the North Sea 121
Comfort 123
She Scatters Stars 124
About You 125
Dream 126
Ezbekie 127
The Porcelain Pavilion 131
Moon over the Sea 132
'Joyful heart, winged heart' 133
Nature 134
Three Wives of the Mandarin 135
Happiness 136
The Suez Canal 139
The Equatorial Forest 141
'From a whole bouquet of lilac' 147
'We flew through bright alleys' 148
Shame 149
'Just black velvet...' 150
'The golden night was flying by' 151
'Monotonous, my days flash past' 152
'The soul dozed...' 153
'Your tormenting, miraculous' 154
'My heart had fought for so long' 155
'I said: "Do you want me..."' 156
'A tenderly unprecedented joy' 157
Haiku 157
Memory 161
The Forest 164
The Word 166
The Soul and the Body 167
First Canto 170
Second Canto 171
Imitation of the Persian 172
The Persian Miniature 173
Sixth Sense 175
Baby Elephant 176
The Tram that Lost its Way 177
Olga 180
With the Gypsies 181
The Drunk Dervish 183
The Leopard 184
The Master Craftsmen's Prayer 186
Ring 187
Bird-Girl 189
My Readers 192
Star Terror 194
My Hour 203
To *** 205
'The white willow...' 206
A Sentimental Journey 207
The Turkey 211
'No, nothing has changed' 212
'The poet is lazy...' 213
'You and I are bound...' 214
'Don't call the blind music...' 214
'The heart is more aflame...' 215
'I played a joke on myself' 216
'I came back' 217
Notes 219
Instead of an Epilogue: Some poems 243
Notes to Akhmatova poems 248
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