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Edited by Elaine Feinstein
RRP: GBP£ 9.95
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Price: GBP£ 8.96
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ISBN: 978 1 857544 44 2
Categories: 19th Century, Russian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 1999
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Carol Ann Duffy
'How do you convince the English-speaking public that Pushkin's genius is as great as the Russians claim?' This question, arising at the bicentenary of Pushkin's birth, is the catalyst for a collection of new translations, versions of and responses to the poetry of Alexander Pushkin by some of the best poets writing in English today, from America, the Antipodes, Ireland and Great Britain.
Published in collaboration with the Folio Society, After Pushkin is an exhilarating introduction to the greatest of the Russian Romantics. He is represented in his many guises: lyricist, satirist, epic poet.
'Russians regard Pushkin as the fountainhead of their literature,' writes poet and novelist Elaine Feinstein, who is also Pushkin's most recent and most celebrated biographer.
'His poems have accompanied prisoners into Tsarist gaols and the Communist Gulag equally. All Russian writers Western readers have taken to their heart have recorded their debts to him, from his friend Gogol - to whom Pushkin, with prodigal generosity, gave the plots of Dead Souls and The Inspector General - through Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoevsky and the greatest poets of the twentieth
century.' Hitherto his work has been best known to us through the operas of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky Korsakov.
Though the poems included here represent only a fraction of Pushkin's work, they do manage to epitomise, refracted through nineteen lenses, some of his salient qualities of clarity, passion and high drama. He is hard to translate because his poetry is so deeply rooted in the rhythms and dictions of Russian poetry. In these new versions, many new qualities find their way into English poetry. Something happens when a fine poet engages, even if at a certain linguistic remove, with the work of a poet of Pushkin's magnitude.
Praise for Elaine Feinstein 'Like numerous English readers, I owe my discovery of Tsvetaeva to the multi-talented poet and writer, Elaine Feinstein... Feinstein's translations prove that a poem can be re-born in its adoptive language.' - Carol Rumens 'Talking to the Dead is arguably Elaine Feinstein's best collection. Beautifully crafted, deeply felt, totally earned, these poems of love and bereavement, and more, will expand her readership well beyond the readers and writers of contemporary poetry who have long loved and treasured her exemplary contribution to the art.' Carol Ann Duffy 'Beautiful, generous, wonderfully intense poems ... Anyone who has ever felt comforted in grief by words, or who has lived through that tension between tenderness, longing and guilt, will recognize their precision and their truth.' Ruth Padel 'These are more than elegies, they are alchemy; the emotional force of the book is so strong that the dead come walking out of the pages.' Jo Shapcott 'The strangeness of visited cities, with their fearful histories, has been transmuted here by the responses of a truly gifted poet.' Dannie Abse 'Cities presents itself as the work of old age, but readers expecting regret or renunciation will be surprised by the affirmative character of this book. While Elaine Feinstein revisits Europe in the aftermath of Nazism, she also praises the good fortune of having lived richly in the sphere of literature and travelled widely among remarkable people. The poems here are lit with striking clarity - things retain their outline and solidity to an unusual degree.' Sean O'Brien 'Elaine Feinstein has made the juncture between poetry and memoir her own. As befits a poet who is also a master of fiction and biography, she writes with casual erudition and an acute storyteller's eye. Her forays into European culture and history are dazzling. Cities is a profoundly humane, intimate exploration of the places and stages by which a life acquires meaning.' Fiona Sampson 'For more than 40 years, Feinstein has been writing intensely lyrical, finely crafted poems. Those in [Talking to the Dead] are honest and moving, and are among her very best.' No. 1 in 'The Ten Best New poetry collections' - the Independent, 2007
The London Review of Books :
Pushkin is notoriously difficult to translate, leaving readers with no knowledge of Russian often mystified by the almost fanatical veneration in which his works are held by Russians. read more
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