When Columns, a slim volume of poems written by an unknown young Russian poet named Nikolai Zabolotsky, appeared in 1929, it took the literary world of Leningrad [St. Petersburg] by storm. Zabolotsky was not part of the city’s artistic elite, having arrived
in Leningrad from the provinces only eight years earlier, but the privations and confusion he found in the city following the 1917 Revolution and ensuing civil war stimulated his poetic imagination.
Zabolotsky’s translator Dmitri Manin describes his poetry as portraying “a worldview with no oppositions, no differences between the living and dead, abstract and concrete, naive and sophisticated, artful and artless, meaningful and meaningless, high and low, important and trivial, funny and sad. It’s all mixed inseparably…”
Visible Poets #47
Published October 2023