Thoughts on Osip Mandelstam’s Birthday

A birthday that happened 125 years ago today… & still I can’t find an English translation that satisfies me completely. Most of them feel more or less flat, with Mandelstam turned into a most salon-fähig lyrical poet of medium to low intensity. (Oddly enough this is true especially of those translations extolled by Joseph Brodsky, someone who should have know, as he was a native Russian who wound up writing in English, … Read more Thoughts on Osip Mandelstam’s Birthday

75 Years Ago Osip Mandelstam died

Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam — О́сип Эми́льевич Мандельшта́м — was born January 15  1891 & died 75 years ago today on December 27, 1938 in Siberia at a transit camp to the Gulag where Stalin had sent him for writing poems that insulted the dictator. Probably the greatest Russian lyric poet & essayist of the first part of the 20C. I am still awaiting a really great translation into English of the poetry. Many … Read more 75 Years Ago Osip Mandelstam died

Celan Reads Mandelstam

  Here is a basic translation into English of this poem by A. S. Kline (see a Kline— Mandelstam site here). Unhappily the attempt to reproduce rhyme schemes etc. simply kills the poem or at least diminishes it a lot, still it does give a narrative account of OM’s poem. Note also that Kline seems unaware of what is the most famous appearance of the “black sun” image: it’s … Read more Celan Reads Mandelstam

Another Mandelstam Poem via Celan

From Paul Celan’s radio-essay on Osip Mandelstam, here is a further Mandelstam poem — a very literal translation of Celan’s German version. Earlier extracts of this piece can be found here, here and here. JANUARY 1, 1924 Whoever kisses time’s sore brow will often, like a son, think tenderly how she, time, laid down to sleep outside in high heaped wheat drifts, in the corn. Whoever has raised the … Read more Another Mandelstam Poem via Celan

Mandelstam via Celan (2)

Last December I posted the opening of Paul Celan’s radio-essay on Osip Mandelstam — which you can read here — and earlier still some the notes Celan wrote when composing the radio-essay — which you can read here. Both come from the German variorum edition of Der Meridian, the translation of which I am finally completing these days & which should come out next year from Stanford University Press. … Read more Mandelstam via Celan (2)