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Review of After Pushkin
The London Review of Books:To the 'After Pushkin' page...
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. Elaine Feinstein's stellar cast (Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney Louise Glück and others) comes as close as anyone ever has to capturing Pushkin's almost superhuman energy. Here's Carol Ann Duffy's 'Poet to Prose-Writer':
Leave it to me, prose-writer.
You need a nose-wiper, someone
who shoots from the lip.
Give me a line --
I'll sharpen its tip,
weather it, feather it with rhyme,
send it flying
over enemy lines.
Prose is a pea-shooter, slow, narrow.
Poetry's an outlaw's bow-and-arrow.
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