October 7, 2012
Stolen Air The Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam Selected and translated by Christian Wiman Introduction by Ilya Kaminsky Ecco. 128 pp. $15.99 Reviewed by Frank Wilson This is a book not simply to read, but also to treasure. It takes the form of a triptych, Ilya Kaminsky's introduction ("Osip Mandelstam: A Lyric Voice" and Christian Wiman's translator's note ("Secret Hearing") bracketing Osip Mandelstam's poems. Kaminsky's introduction is itself a kind of prose poem, which is hardly surprising.
October 21, 1990 |
The committee that bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize on Mikhail S. Gorbachev last week said he won the prize "for his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community. " The truth could have been stated more succinctly: Gorbachev changed the world. Future generations of historians will argue about his role in the end of the Cold War, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the collapse of the Russian empire and the cooling of the arms race that devoured the resources of his nation and others for 40 years.
September 16, 1990 |
Last Sunday morning, Alexander Menn, one of the most beloved Russian Orthodox priests in the Soviet Union, set out on his accustomed route to church. It was 6:30 a.m. The stocky, handsome, gray-bearded priest left his wooden house, set in a grove of birch and pine, and headed for the train station of this country town. His route took him through a 300-yard stretch of forest cloaked in early morning gloom. The train would take him 15 miles to the village of Novaya Deryevnya, where he was a fabled preacher during the long years of Soviet religious oppression.
May 12, 1989 |
Sixty-five years after the Soviet Union first tried to gain membership, the international writers group PEN has accepted a Russian and a Lithuanian chapter. Meeting in Maastricht, Netherlands, PEN, known for its strong stands against censorship, voted unanimously to admit the two groups. "We have at last obtained something we have been fighting for decades. . . . The great Russian literature with its great traditions . . . is finally among us," said Alexandre Blokh, international secretary of the 10,000-member group.
May 8, 1989 |
With life imitating his own art, Geli T. Ryabov slowly hoisted the white plaster model of a skull into the light that radiated from the ceiling of his study. A writer of detective fiction, he stared at the cast he had made of the skull of a teenager, one of three skulls he had taken with him that day, a decade ago, when he made the discovery of a lifetime. "In my opinion they are the skulls of Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, and Anastasia, though the last may be that of Czarevich Alexi, the son," said Ryabov as he cradled the plaster skull.
May 2, 1989 |
The lamb was on the grill, the vodka was flowing, the air was thick with the acrid smell of Bulgarian cigarettes, children raced from room to room, knots of people talked and laughed, but Vasily Belov had only one thing on his mind. "What is the news from Moscow?" he asked his fellow writer Georgy Semyonov, an enormous, grizzled, gregarious man who had flown into this country only a few hours before and had just burst into the room with a storm of greetings. "Tell me. What is happening?"
April 27, 1989 |
Last weekend, a Bucks County school made its contribution to improving relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. The George School in Middletown hosted a seminar Sunday featuring Soviet writers Boris Petrovich Yekimov, Yuri Polikarpovich Kuznetsov and Vasily Ivanovich Belov, who spoke about their works and lives as writers in the Soviet Union. The writers' visit to the school was the beginning of a three-week tour sponsored by the Quaker United States and Soviet Union Committee.
February 20, 1989 |
Not long ago, the battling and embattled magazine editor Vitaly A. Korotich asked human rights activist Andrei D. Sakharov how he was dealing with all those people who wrote nasty things about him when he was officially discredited and living in internal exile. "I simply slap their cheeks," Sakharov said. Korotich, 52, the controversial editor of the highly popular liberal weekly Ogonyok, is weighing Sakharov's advice. But he said that nearly all of his own tormentors are over 60 years old. "I can't do it," Korotich said during an interview.
December 14, 1988 |
Free to Be . . . A Family is a television show with a bewildering title, because it has little or nothing to do with families. But it has everything to do with children, and for them it should be an entertaining hour. Producer and host Marlo Thomas says Free to Be . . . A Family is the first prime-time network special ever jointly produced and aired in the United States and the Soviet Union. Here, it will begin at 8 tonight on ABC (Channel 6). American guests on the special include Jon Bon Jovi, Carly Simon, Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, magicians Penn and Teller, and the king and queen of the Muppets, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
September 9, 1987 |
The sixth Moscow International Book Fair suffered a glitch in its glasnost yesterday as an American publisher of Soviet emigre writers accused Soviet officials of confiscating more than 50 books. Ellendea Proffer, head of Ardis Publishers, said that customs officials had taken 50 to 60 books representing 30 different titles in English and Russian. Among them was Moscow 2042, a recently published satire on the future of communism by Vladimir Voinovich, a Soviet author who left the country in 1980.