Savvy Verse & Wit recently read and reviewed Stolen Air by Osip Mandelstam, translated by Christian Wiman for the WWI Reading Challenge in 2012. Here’s a snippet:
The poems are song-like, but ripe with derision for Stalin’s totalitarianism and the control over freedom, which provided many with the guise of free expression that was received at a high price. Mandelstam speaks of a life choreographed by others and punishments that are deeply harsh when spontaneity strikes. His words are like hammers on the chains attached to boulders in prisons of old, making sure the lack of freedom is felt most acutely. From the “legislated” freedoms to the starvation and lack of heat, it is all present in Mandelstam’s roving poetry.
Read the full review.
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