Read Selected Poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko Robin R. Milner-Gulland Peter Levi Online


This volume contains a selection of early works by Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko who blazed a trail for a generation of Soviet poets with a confident poetic voice that moves effortlessly between social and personal themes. ‘Zima Junction’ vividly describes his idyllic childhood in Siberia and his impressions of home after a long absence in Moscow. Private moments are cThis volume contains a selection of early works by Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko who blazed a trail for a generation of Soviet poets with a confident poetic voice that moves effortlessly between social and personal themes. ‘Zima Junction’ vividly describes his idyllic childhood in Siberia and his impressions of home after a long absence in Moscow. Private moments are captured in ‘Waking’, on the joys of discovering the unexpected in a lover, and ‘Birthday’, on a mother’s concern for her son, while ‘Encounter’ depicts an unexpected meeting with Hemingway in Copenhagen. ‘The Companion’ and ‘Party Card’ show war from a child’s eye, whether playing while oblivious to German bombs falling nearby or discovering a fatally wounded soldier in the forest, while Yevtushenko’s famous poem, ‘Babiy Yar’, is an angry exposé of the Nazi massacre of the Jews of Kiev....

Title : Selected Poems
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ISBN : 9780140424775
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 96 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Selected Poems Reviews

  • Steven Peterson
    2019-02-28 08:37

    Yevgeny Yevtushenko is one of my favorite Russian poets. Years ago, while I was in graduate school at the State University of New York at Buffalo, I bought this copy. I still enjoy repairing to this collection every so often. There is a nice, albeit brief, introduction to his work, written by Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi. It does provide useful context for the poetry to follow. But it is the poetry that is the heart of this slim work. A few lines to illustrate his art. . . . "Zima Junction" "As we get older we get honester, that's something." "Lies" "Telling lies to the young is wrong. Proving to them that lies are true is wrong." "Visit" "with one sudden thought, how little I Have done in life, how much I can do." "Waking" "And how I flattered myself From time to time with proving to myself Nothing in you could be unknown to me. You don't belong to the mind's calculations, And you disproved each of my demonstrations, Since to be unexpected is your truth." All in all, a nice, although brief, introduction to the poetry of Yevtushenko.

  • Muhammad Arqum
    2019-03-14 02:44

    Yevgeny Yevtushenko has become one of my favorite poets! And Zima Junction has placed itself in my all time beloved poems. There is something so profound yet simple about his poetry that even after getting lost in translation, the percolating melancholy, and the rising nostalgia leaves you sighing and smiling. When Yevtushenko writes about snow, you rub your hands. When he tells you he misses something, you miss it with him. When he writes about rain, you get drenched. Gorgeous imagery, beautiful thoughts, simple topics. I wish I could speak Russian...Highly recommended!

  • Eadweard
    2019-02-26 02:02

    Beautiful poems."THOSE weddings in wartime 1 The deceiving comfort !The dishonesty of words about living.Sonorous snowy roads.In the wind’s wicked teeth I hurry down themto a hasty wedding at the next village.With worn-out tread and hair down in my eyesI go inside, I famous for my dancing,into the noisy house.In there tensed up with nerves and with emotionamong a crowd of friends and family,called up, distraught, the bridegroomsitting beside his Vera, his bride.Will in a few days put his greatcoat onand set out coated for the war.Will see new country, carry a rifle.May also drop if he is hit.His glass is fizzing but he can’t drink it.The first night may be the last night.And sadly eyeing me and bitter-mindedhe leans in his despair across the tableand says, ‘Come on then, dance.’Drinks are forgotten. Everyone looks round.Out I twirl to begin. Clap of my feet.Shake.Scrape the floor with my toe-cap.Whistle. Whistle. Slap hands,Faster, leaping ceiling-high.Moving the posters pinned up on the walls:"---"MY love will comewill fling open her arms and fold me in them,will understand my fears, observe my changes.In from the pouring dark, from the pitch nightwithout stopping to bang the taxi doorshe’ll run upstairs through the decaying porchburning with love and love’s happiness,she’ll run dripping upstairs, she won’t knock,will take my head in her hands,and when she drops her overcoat on a chair,it will slide to the floor in a blue heap."---"A SHOT-UP forest full of black holes.Mind-crushing explosions.He wants some berries, he wants some berries:the young lieutenant, lying in his blood.I was a smallish boy,who crawled in the long grass till it was darkand brought him back a cap of strawberries,and when they came there was no use for them.The rain of July lightly falling.He was lying in remoteness and silenceamong the ruined tanks and the dead.The rain glistened on his eyelashes.There were sadness and worry in his eyes.I waited saying nothing and soaking,like waiting for an answer to somethinghe couldn’t answer. Passionate with silenceunable to see when he asked me,I took his party card from his pocket.And small and tired and without understandingwandering in the flushed and smoking dark,met up with refugees moving eastand somehow through the terribly flashing nightwe travelled without a map, the priestwith his long grey hair and his rucksack,and me and a sailor with a wounded arm.Child crying. Horse whinnying.And answered to with love and with courageand white, white, the bell-towers rang outspeaking to Russia with a tocsin voice.Wheatfields blackened round their villages.In the woman’s coat I wore at that time,I felt for the party card close to my heart."

  • Jerry Oliver
    2019-03-06 10:04

    This is an amazing book of poetry. These poems are from a time and place and yet they are timeless and reach far and wide because they map a familiar terrain of the soul. These lines were composed in the repressive communist Russia I grew up hearing about yet they are the visions and observations of a young man whose spirit couldn't be contained by borders or authority.

  • Dewey
    2019-03-10 01:52

    Yevgeny Yevtushenko was perhaps the greatest poet from the Soviet Union post-Silver Age along with Joseph Brodsky (or after, depending on who you ask). His recent passing and a chance reading of a really moving poem online led me to keep an eye out for any volumes I could find. This reprinting of a Penguin edition of his first English poems in the 60's was the first I found and is thus the first volume I acquired. Like the early Mayakovsky book that City Lights published some time ago, this volume isn't very big, with about 32 poems. But it's more substantial than the Mayakovsky book, in part because the centerpiece poem, Zima Junction, is quite long. While Yevtushenko's poetry apparently rhymes in the original, the translators chose not to render that into English and the form it takes in English feels a little like free verse Beat poetry (a sign of the time the translators were living in perhaps). However, Yevtushenko's voice and the world he evokes couldn't be further from the world of the Beats, save for the more ecological ones. The closest cousin to Yevtushenko seems to be Akhmatova: there is a similar feeling of cold earthiness shared between the two. Overall they were much different than the poem I read online, the name of which I regrettably forget. But it's a fine and interesting introduction to the poet.

  • Anika
    2019-03-05 04:06

    "Cracking green walnuts, each of ussearching with our eyes for the sea.And I whitened my lips with pressing them,drew my ribs tight and wept invisibly.The coast came forward and the sea with it."

  • Peter
    2019-03-24 09:04

    First read early 1970s...

  • Seth
    2019-03-25 05:59

    Zima Junction has got to be one of my favorite poems; the way it flows through episodes of a visit home has an irresistible nostalgia to it. As a twenty-two year-old university student, Yevtushenko's musings on the complexity of objective reality as one gets older really hits me. As children the answers seemed so simple, love seemed so easy, trust was instinctive. These things change, and are expressed in a beautifully lyrical style as the poet explores his solitude and wanderlust.The other poems are okay, too. Some moments of beauty and truth (what else is poetry for?) but after reading the first and longest poem, the others paled in comparison.Zima Junction, though..."'Nowadays,' he said, ' we all behave / as if we were a sort of philosopher. / It's the times that we live in. People are thinking. / Where, what, how - the answers don't come running... / 'You live in Moscow; things are clearer there: / tell me about it all, explain it to me.'...And I think / that I was right, my uncle all attention / as if the truth and I were personal friends, / to answer peacefully, 'I'll tell you later.'"

  • Lucy
    2019-03-10 04:39

    TalkYou're a brave man they tell me.I'm not. Courage has never been my quality. Only I thought it disproportionate so to degrade myself as others did. No foundations trembled. My voice no more than laughed at pompous falsity; I did no more than write, never denounced, I left out nothing I had thought about, defended who deserved it, put a brand on the untalented, the ersatz writers (doing what had anyhow to be done). And now they press to tell me that I'm brave. How sharply our children will be ashamed taking at last their vengeance for these horrors remembering how in so strange a time common integrity could look like courage.

  • Christina
    2019-02-25 01:47

    Another book difficult to rate: 5 stars for the poet, 3 stars for the translators. (Extra credit given for translators' notes, which were somewhat helpful.) Once again, it was tremendously frustrating not to be able to read the work in its original Russian. More than once I suspected an idiom may have been translated literally. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to visit with Yevtushenko again 35 yrs after first discovering his work. This slim volume begins with his magnum opus, "Zima Junction," and includes some of his most famous poems of the 1950s among them "Babiy Yar." Even his topical, political poems, which spoke to integrity and outspokenness in the face of Soviet oppression and fear, still resonated for me.

  • Mick Canning
    2019-03-08 02:39

    A collection of poems centred around a long poem, 'Zima Junction' which lyrically describes a visit that the poet makes as an adult to his family home in the small Siberian town of the same name. All of the poems are beautiful, but Zima Junction is the standout one, and for which alone the purchase of the book is more than justified. Descriptions of eccentric family, strawberry picking, meals and drinking, cart rides in the end of the poem you feel that you know and understand the countryside and the society there. A poem that I continually go back to re-read.

  • Nune Harutyunyan
    2019-03-03 03:44

    Either I don't read poems too much, or it was a very bad translation. I was guessing the meanings and metaphors that were used and I was lost throughout the whole thing. However, I'm not the professional to judge. If you like poetry in general, give it a shot but don't expect much from the book, it's not gonna move you and your feelings. (or it may, depends on your personal opinions about specific values)My personal favorite poem is "The Wedding"

  • Lysergius
    2019-02-23 09:03

    Despite the difficulties and inadequacies of the translation, something of the flavour of Yevgeny Yevtushenko's poetry has been captured and made available for the English reader. Well worth the effort.

  • Sasha Strader
    2019-03-20 05:50

    As with almost any book of poetry (at least the ones I've read), there are some stunningly good poems, and there are some that just drag. Overall, I felt this book had more of the latter than the former, but it just wasn't my preferred style.

  • Tangleofwires
    2019-03-11 02:48


  • Saoirse
    2019-03-09 02:49

    It was nice. I wasn't really particularly impressed, though I do realise the futility of reading translated poetry. If I ever learn Russian, maybe I'll return to this.

  • Mimi
    2019-03-26 04:39

    This selection may be short, but it shows Yevgeny Yevtushenko's range as a poet. While I've already read more than half of these poems elsewhere, they're more powerful here, when placed side by side.

  • Jeff Laughlin
    2019-03-04 05:05

    Dude can flow. He nice.

  • Leni Rayburn
    2019-03-13 05:40

    One of my old paperback favorites. He was my favorite poet for years & years, and I re-read this little book till it's in tatters. Babiy Yar leaves me speechless. Read it and read it again.

  • Meter
    2019-02-24 06:47

    Overall satisfying, though who know's about the translation. I think he might be better read as the collections he intended rather than this put together. Junction at Zima is a bit of a trial.

  • Anna F.
    2019-02-25 04:47

    "(...) I am conscious that these minutes are shortand that the colours in my eyes will vanishwhen your face sets."

  • Wuhan
    2019-03-15 03:38

    This might be the best damn poetry I've ever read.

  • Patrick\
    2019-03-03 04:45

    How did this once giant slip into such obscurity? A cigarette smoking showman, but a fine poet who walked the equally fine line of the Soviet and lived.