soviet poet

Joseph Brodsky: Last Morning in the USSR, 1972. 

Brodsky with the help of his American friends escaped for USA in 1972 and never returned back.  It seemed that he never had regrets about that - at home he was subjected to repressions and was promised for more if he would not express emigrate. Twice he was put to mental institutions, charged with social parasitism in 1964 and sentenced and sentenced for that to 5 years (though he spent only 18 month of the term due to the protests of the prominent cultural workers).

Soviet Yiddish Poet and Member of the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee Peretz Markish     Uncredited and Undated Photograph


Peretz Markish, acclaimed modernist Yiddish language poet and active member of the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee was murdered by Stalin in 1952, along with 12 of his comrades on the Committee, on the infamous “Night of Murdered Poets.


With blood cries the East; with pus, the West
the squares in suburbs scream atop pyres

Like scrolls of blood fires unfurl
every flame a cry of alarm

A howl from the heap of greed and plunder:
the body on a scale like a giblet for the butcher

Pyres of flags and flags of blood—
The whip frolics on flesh and on life

Dawn, streets and cities awash in blood
the greedy sword of plunder is never slaked

Somewhere chimneys shout smoke like gullets
the forced lives of the big and small

Somewhere pits haggle – a mile in the earth:
blood against gold and – done! It’s a deal!

All equalized. Skin sliced from bodies, its price
ferried by waves on the stock exchange

The price of skin pitilessly flayed
of a life in chains, of dying in need

The price of children in a mother’s womb
for anxious mothers, the price of a night

Freeze on the bodies, turned towards fire
nations walk bent with hands that are bound

Nations bound in chains of need
prices etched and branded on skin

–Peretz Markish, The Forty-Year Old Man, sect. 13,  1919

Image: Chilean writer and poet Pablo Neruda, after being awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Back in 2014, archivists were combing through poet Pablo Neruda’s files when they came upon some previously unpublished works. Those writings will soon be released in English in Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda.

One of the newly discovered poems was inspired by a visit to the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. Neruda got to meet Soviet cosmonauts and wrote a poem about space travel. Here’s an excerpt:

It occurs to me
that the light was fresh then,
that an unwinking star
journeyed along
cutting short and linking
distances
their faces unused
to the awesome desolation,
in pure space

‘The Lost Neruda’ Can Now Be Found In 'Then Come Back’

Vladimir Mayakovsky

Attitude to a Miss

That night was to decide
if she and I
were to be lovers.
Under cover
of darkness
no one would see, you see.
I bent over her, it’s the truth,
and as I did,
it’s the truth, I swear it,
I said
like a kindly parent:
“Passion’s a precipice – 
so won’t you please
move away?
Move away,
please!”