The Moscow and Voronezh Notebooks: Poems 1930-1937

Overview

"Osip Mandelstam was one of the great Russian poets of the 20th century, with a prophetic understanding of its suffering, which he transformed into luminous poetry. Childish and wise, joyous and angry, at once complex and simple, he was sustained for 20 years by his wife and memoirist Nadezhda Mandelstam, who became, with Anna Akhmatova, the saviour of his poetry." "The Moscow Notebooks cover his years of persecution, from 1930 to 1934, when he was arrested for writing an unflattering poem about Stalin, and subjected to gruelling interrogations
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Overview

"Osip Mandelstam was one of the great Russian poets of the 20th century, with a prophetic understanding of its suffering, which he transformed into luminous poetry. Childish and wise, joyous and angry, at once complex and simple, he was sustained for 20 years by his wife and memoirist Nadezhda Mandelstam, who became, with Anna Akhmatova, the saviour of his poetry." "The Moscow Notebooks cover his years of persecution, from 1930 to 1934, when he was arrested for writing an unflattering poem about Stalin, and subjected to gruelling interrogations and torture. The Notebooks include the fatal poem - with its clinching line 'His cockroach moustache laughs, perching on his top lip' - and present a shattering portrait of Moscow before the Great Terror. He attempted suicide twice, slashing his wrists in prison, and jumping from a hospital window. Exiled to Voronezh, he seemed crushed. A friend described him then as 'in a state of numbness. His eyes were glassy. His eyelids were inflamed, and this condition never went away. His eyelashes had fallen out. His arm was in a sling.'" But it was to be four more years before Mandelstam was completely beaten. In Voronezh he broke a silence of 18 months, writing the 90 poems of the three Voronezh Notebooks. Nadezhda's memoir Hope Against Hope includes a moving account of their time in Voronezh, and Anna Akhmatova's poem 'Voronezh' describes her visit there in 1936, when 'in the room of the exiled poet / fear and the Muse stand duty in turn / and the night is endless / and knows no dawn'.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781852246310
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
  • Publication date: 4/2/2004
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

The Moscow Notebooks (1930-1934)
Introduction 9
The Moscow Notebooks: An Essay 12
This life is terrifying 25
Armenia 26
Don't tell anyone 30
The barbed speech of the Ararat gorge 31
How I love this people 31
The people howl like beasts 32
The Armenian language is a wild cat 32
On watermarked police stationery 33
Leningrad 34
I was a child in the world of the powerful 35
Let's sit in the kitchen together 36
Help me, O Lord, to live through this night 36
After midnight the heart steals 37
Sherry brandy 37
The Wolf 38
It is night outside 39
Alexander Hertzowitz 39
Eyelashes sting with tears 40
I can't hide from the chaos 41
Untruth 41
I drink to the military asters 42
The Grand Piano 42
Keep my words forever 43
Canzone 44
Midnight in Moscow 45
That's enough sulking 47
Fragments from Destroyed Poems 48
The Horse-cart Driver 49
After having dipped one's little finger 51
I've many years to live 53
The factories, bathing in the Moscow river 57
O, how we love to play the hypocrite 57
Lamarck 58
When Russian gold 59
Impressionism 60
Remember how the young men 61
Novellino 61
Guess why you've given 62
Batyushkov 63
Poem to Russian Poetry 64
To the German Language 66
Old Crimea 68
Ariosto 68
It's cold in Europe, and dark in Italy 70
Don't tempt yourself with foreign languages 71
The friend of Ariosto 71
The flat is quiet as paper 71
Our sacred youth 73
The Tartars, Uzbeks and Nentsians 73
We are alive but no longer feel 74
Octets 74
The stream, swollen from salty tears 78
An orphaned nightingale sings 78
My days have raced past 79
When the earth sleeps 80
As water flows 80
You had blue eyes and a feverish brow 81
A few random phrases keep haunting me 82
When fate suddenly confronts 83
Who died? 84
He conducted the Caucasus mountains 84
The Caucasus mountains 85
A bearded engraver 85
For Maria Petrovykh 86
Notes 87
Errata 96
The Voronezh Notebooks (1935-1937)
Translator's Preface 99
Introduction 103
Recognising Mandelstam 116
Black candle 121
Black Earth 122
In strangers' homes 123
I must live 123
Voronezh 124
My earphones 124
Red Square 125
Mandelstam Street 126
Children at the Barber's 127
The Kama 128
Stanzas 130
The day was five-headed 132
Chapayev 133
Having deprived me 133
To praise a dead woman 134
St Isaac's 135
Rome nights 136
The Violinist 137
Wave after wave 138
I shall perform a smoky ceremony 138
The Airmen 139
No, it's not a migraine 140
Sadko 142
Birth of the Smile 142
I'll wonder at the world 143
The Goldfinch 143
The Cage 144
Today is a little yellow 144
I am at the heart of the age 145
They, not you nor I 145
The Idol 145
The master gunsmith 146
The family sound 146
Zadonsk 147
This region is in dark water 148
A train of sledges 149
This winter touches me 149
The Cat 150
Let it be blessed 150
The Angry Lamb 151
The Sorcerer 151
Like a ringed hawk 152
Yeast of the world 153
Little devil 153
The Beggar Woman 154
Into the face of the frost 154
Oh, this slow asthmatic vastness 155
The deadliness of the plains 155
Don't make comparisons 156
Feminine silver burns 156
Mount Elbrus 157
Meteorite 157
Human heads 157
The early ice 158
I love the frosty breath 158
This January 159
Tragedies 160
Like Rembrandt 160
The breaches of circular bays 161
Wedding in the Caucasus 161
Eyesight of Wasps 162
Eyes sharper than a honed scythe 162
The worn grandeur of my soles 163
The words from the Kremlin 163
On stations and piers 164
The engraver's soaring art 165
Buried in the lion's den 166
The sleepy, sleigh-tracked town 168
If our enemies captured me 168
Rheims-Laon 169
France 170
Rome 171
Poem to the Unknown Soldier 172
I will whisper this 175
The Last Supper 176
Lost in the sky 176
What can I do, lost as I am in the sky 177
Perhaps this is the point of madness 177
Little Star 178
Winejug 179
Joyful Crete 179
My Nereids 180
Flutes 180
The state shame 181
Some wife searches 182
The buds cling with a sticky promise 182
I present the green promise 184
The pear and the cherry blossom 184
To Natasha Shtempel 185
Texts 189
Notes 191
Envoi 213
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