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“A meeting point for poets of all latitudes”
— VĂ­ctor Rodríguez Núñez

Columns

by Nikolai Zabolotsky

Translated by Dmitri Manin
Introduced by Darra Goldstein

Part of our Visible Poets series edited by Jean Boase-Beier

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…”

The early poems of Nikolai Zabolotsky present to us images of such stark and surprising vividness that they continue to stun nearly a century after their publication. Dmitri Manin’s translations retain the freshness of Zabolotsky’s vision – that of an imaginative outsider thrust into a world torn apart and remade, haphazardly, by a bloody revolution and civil war – as well as the solemn music that effectively counterpoints the poet’s cavalcade of novel images. This book will change the way you see the world around you.

Boris Dralyuk

ISBN: 9781911469155
Visible Poets #47
Published October 2023

» About Nikolai Zabolotsky