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The Stranger: Selected Poetry

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Alexander Blok (November 28, 1880 - August 7, 1921) was a major poet of the Russian Symbolism movement. His early poetry was dominated by the theme of searching for his ideal beauty. Sound, rhythm, color and repetition played a crucial part in setting the mood and conveying emotions in his writing. With subsequent collections, the focus shifted to depicting human psycholog Alexander Blok (November 28, 1880 - August 7, 1921) was a major poet of the Russian Symbolism movement. His early poetry was dominated by the theme of searching for his ideal beauty. Sound, rhythm, color and repetition played a crucial part in setting the mood and conveying emotions in his writing. With subsequent collections, the focus shifted to depicting human psychology. His writing became more ironic and pessimistic, as he struggled to balance his quest for an ideal with his disenchantment in everyday life. In the later stages of his career, he wrote predominately about political themes and the changes that were happening in Russia. To this day, he is considered by many to be the most important Russian poet since Alexander Pushkin, and his work would have a lasting influence on the likes of Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva, among other prominent poets of the Silver Age. This dual-language collection of his poetry seeks to represent the continuum of Alexander Blok's growth as a poet, with particular attention paid to the rhythm and melody of his writing.


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Alexander Blok (November 28, 1880 - August 7, 1921) was a major poet of the Russian Symbolism movement. His early poetry was dominated by the theme of searching for his ideal beauty. Sound, rhythm, color and repetition played a crucial part in setting the mood and conveying emotions in his writing. With subsequent collections, the focus shifted to depicting human psycholog Alexander Blok (November 28, 1880 - August 7, 1921) was a major poet of the Russian Symbolism movement. His early poetry was dominated by the theme of searching for his ideal beauty. Sound, rhythm, color and repetition played a crucial part in setting the mood and conveying emotions in his writing. With subsequent collections, the focus shifted to depicting human psychology. His writing became more ironic and pessimistic, as he struggled to balance his quest for an ideal with his disenchantment in everyday life. In the later stages of his career, he wrote predominately about political themes and the changes that were happening in Russia. To this day, he is considered by many to be the most important Russian poet since Alexander Pushkin, and his work would have a lasting influence on the likes of Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva, among other prominent poets of the Silver Age. This dual-language collection of his poetry seeks to represent the continuum of Alexander Blok's growth as a poet, with particular attention paid to the rhythm and melody of his writing.

30 review for The Stranger: Selected Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    A moon is shining somewhere? Somewhere there's a sun? (July 1898) My third Russian lyrical poet of the year. His poetry—an ode to symbolism—includes a wide and varied range of themes and bold experimentations concerning rhymes and structures; a fascinating display of emotions, wit and creativity. It was a pleasure to contemplate some particular verses which ooze otherworldly beauty and strongly familiar impressions. His language oscillates between an exceptional lyricism and a harsher tone used to A moon is shining somewhere? Somewhere there's a sun? (July 1898) My third Russian lyrical poet of the year. His poetry—an ode to symbolism—includes a wide and varied range of themes and bold experimentations concerning rhymes and structures; a fascinating display of emotions, wit and creativity. It was a pleasure to contemplate some particular verses which ooze otherworldly beauty and strongly familiar impressions. His language oscillates between an exceptional lyricism and a harsher tone used to depict evocative images of a more violent nature, often when portraying the political scenario of his time. Nothing here could be labeled as conventional, something that any reader would find refreshing, to say the least. This collection offers many sides of Blok. A poet engaging in an impossible quest. Stubbornly, inevitably. I yearn to live a life of meaning: Make every thing – immortalized, Make all the formal – humanized, Bring non-existent – into being! (February 5, 1914) A poet singing to harmony, to differences; to the pleasant resemblances and irreconcilable ideas, the intimacy and a necessary distance; everything that entails a conversation, a relationship, a marriage, a life. There are a couple of verses that I still hear from some obscure corner of my mind. A long poem and one of my favorites of this collection. Because you have seen all the secrets I hide. Because we are bound by secrets and night. (Guardian Angel) A poet... getting drunk? A couple of poems were dedicated to an apparently fresh and vivacious beverage that might be the cause of outward reveling or undying mortification: wine. Its incomparable taste, appealing color and the sensations that followed the empty bottle. I don't drink, so there I was, like the eternal designated driver that I am, with some coffee first, some water later, reading about this remarkable poet nailed to the tavern counter... drunk already, but not through, composing a melody to the night and to his soul, his hopeless soul... drunk and dazed. A poet, no longer a stranger, that left many of us overawed by the unparalleled magnificence of his writing, something that Andrey Kneller was able to convey, once more, with admirable accuracy and elegance. It’s dark, despite the moon above. For many, life may turn out better, - Inside my soul, the spring of love Will not replace the stormy weather. The night’s spread out in the street, And to my spirit’s muted stare, That’s soaked in poison, hot and sweet, It answers with a deathly glare. I try to keep my passions down, Out in the cold and dawning mist, I wander, lost among the crowd, Engrossed, with thoughts of only this: It’s dark, despite the moon above. For many, life may turn out better, - Inside my soul, the spring of love Will not replace the stormy weather. (January 1898) There is a song on every page that speaks of the ancient night. Of unfading passion and forgettable actions. Of ephemeral infatuation and haunting decisions. Of forgiveness and hopeless evenings. The pale glow of a search for meaning. The opportunities we might have lost. A fear that lingers. The people on the streets we ignored today. The inspiration to which we have relinquished. The memories we cherish, that overwhelm us; the ones we wish we had. Words that soothe and harm. Silence that warms and forgets. Strangers waiting at restaurants while the setting sun burns the sky. The thoughts we choose not to share as time, devoid of any emotion, denies a second chance. The things that were never meant to be owned but we are reluctant to let go. The loss of the nonexistent. The indifference toward existence. The people we see. The people we miss. The ones we'll never be. Feb 18, 16 * Also on my blog.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Magdalen

    It's dark, despite the moon above For many, life may turn out better, - Inside my soul, the spring of love Will not replace the stormy weather. Be humble!Be daring!Stay here!Go away! Is there fire or darkness ahead- who's to say? Where are we heading? What's that call? What's that cry? Forever -together- it's just you and I! Will we rise from the dead? Or perish and die? Alexander Blok is considered to be the major Russian Symbolist, his poems prove so. Especially The twelve which if you haven' It's dark, despite the moon above For many, life may turn out better, - Inside my soul, the spring of love Will not replace the stormy weather. Be humble!Be daring!Stay here!Go away! Is there fire or darkness ahead- who's to say? Where are we heading? What's that call? What's that cry? Forever -together- it's just you and I! Will we rise from the dead? Or perish and die? Alexander Blok is considered to be the major Russian Symbolist, his poems prove so. Especially The twelve which if you haven't read already, you most definitely should! I don't know how to review his poems, cause I lack the confidence. The only thing I'll say is that I loved the variety of colors he uses in his poetry, which is a distinguishable fact about him. Anyway this review sucks so here's another verse. When you are standing on my path, So full of life, so full of beauty, And yet so wearied, You only talk about sad things, You only think about death, You do not love a soul, And you despise your beauty - What then? Could I offend you? PS: A shout out to the excellence of the translation.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    Entranced by her presence, near and enigmatic, I gaze through the dark of her lowered veil And I behold an enchanted shoreline And enchanted distances, far and pale. I am made a guardian of the higher mysteries, Someone's sun is entrusted to my control. Tart wine has pierced the last convolution of my labyrinthine soul. And now the drooping plumes of ostriches Asway in my brain droop slowly lower And two eyes, limpid, blue, and fathomless Are blooming on a distant shore. Inside my soul a treasure is buried. Entranced by her presence, near and enigmatic, I gaze through the dark of her lowered veil And I behold an enchanted shoreline And enchanted distances, far and pale. I am made a guardian of the higher mysteries, Someone's sun is entrusted to my control. Tart wine has pierced the last convolution of my labyrinthine soul. And now the drooping plumes of ostriches Asway in my brain droop slowly lower And two eyes, limpid, blue, and fathomless Are blooming on a distant shore. Inside my soul a treasure is buried. The key is mine and only mine. How right you are, you drunken monster! I know: the truth is in the wine.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eadweard

    It’s dark, despite the moon above. For many, life may turn out better, Inside my soul, the spring of love Will not replace the stormy weather. The night’s spread out in the street, And to my spirit’s muted stare, That’s soaked in poison, hot and sweet, It answers with a deathly glare. I try to keep my passions down, Out in the cold and dawning mist, I wander, lost among the crowd, Engrossed, with thoughts of only this: It’s dark, despite the moon above. For many, life may turn out better, Inside It’s dark, despite the moon above. For many, life may turn out better, Inside my soul, the spring of love Will not replace the stormy weather. The night’s spread out in the street, And to my spirit’s muted stare, That’s soaked in poison, hot and sweet, It answers with a deathly glare. I try to keep my passions down, Out in the cold and dawning mist, I wander, lost among the crowd, Engrossed, with thoughts of only this: It’s dark, despite the moon above. For many, life may turn out better, Inside my soul, the spring of love Will not replace the stormy weather. January 1898 ---- When you are standing on my path, So full of life, so full of beauty, And yet so wearied, You only talk about sad things, You only think about death, You do not love a soul. And you despise your beauty What then? Could I offend you? O, no! I’m not an oppressor, Not a deceiver or an arrogant man, Although I know quite a lot, And I think too much since my youth, And I’m too occupied with myself. You see, I’m – a writer, A man, who calls everything by its name, And steals the aroma from a living flower. Just don’t talk about sad things, Or reflect on endings and new beginnings, I still dare to think, That you are only fifteen years old. And for this reason I’d like it, If you could fall in love with a simple person, One, who loves the earth and the sky more than The rhyming or non-rhyming words about the earth and the sky. Truly, I’ll be happy for you, Since - only the one who’s in love Has the right to be called a human. February 6, 1908 ---- They will bury us deep, once we’re dead, And the grass will then cover the mound, And we’ll hear: somewhere high, overhead, A passing shower will water the ground. From then on, we’ll seek nothing at all, Waking up from a dream, we will reason: If it’s quiet outside – it’s the fall, If it’s turbulent – spring is in season. It’s so nice that our drowsy sensations Won’t troubled by grief and delight, Separation and love’s complications Cannot break, through the coffin, inside. It’s so homely, we’ve found what we sought; Here, one day, we may just comprehend How a senseless life differs somewhat From a sensible one for a man. October 18, 1915

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aditya Narayan

    Alexander Blok Sound, rhythm, color and repetition played a crucial part in setting the mood and conveying emotions in his writing. With subsequent collections, the focus shifted to depicting human psychology. His writing became more ironic and pessimistic, as he struggled to balance his quest for an ideal with his disenchantment in everyday life.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    It is good to have this selection of poetry. I wish that Andrey Kneller had chosen to have translated all of the poema 'The Twelve'. I found that the translation of part 1 compares most favraby with other translations Ihave been exposed to. It is good to have this selection of poetry. I wish that Andrey Kneller had chosen to have translated all of the poema 'The Twelve'. I found that the translation of part 1 compares most favraby with other translations Ihave been exposed to.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alena

    In my opinion one of the best Russian poets

  8. 5 out of 5

    جاسم كلمد

    ""Stars, stars, Tell me the cause of grief!" And he looks at the stars. "Stars, stars, Where did such anguish come from?" And the stars tell him, The stars tell him everything". ""Stars, stars, Tell me the cause of grief!" And he looks at the stars. "Stars, stars, Where did such anguish come from?" And the stars tell him, The stars tell him everything".

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ostap Bender

    A slim collection of Alexander Blok’s poetry, starting with some composed at the age of 17, and ending with an excerpt from “The Twelve”, written at the age of 38 and a year after the 1917 revolution in Russia. Blok died young, at 41. There are some nice poems here, though I think as a whole they should have been selected more from his later years. I liked how this edition included both the original Russian and the English translation. My favorite was this one, from 1902: “You would cut the lagoo A slim collection of Alexander Blok’s poetry, starting with some composed at the age of 17, and ending with an excerpt from “The Twelve”, written at the age of 38 and a year after the 1917 revolution in Russia. Blok died young, at 41. There are some nice poems here, though I think as a whole they should have been selected more from his later years. I liked how this edition included both the original Russian and the English translation. My favorite was this one, from 1902: “You would cut the lagoon with your oar. You and I, we would meet up at sunset. I fell in love with the dress that you wore, All my prior ambitions were nonsense. Left alone we would quietly sit And our silence seemed strangely awry. On the shore evening candles were lit. Someone pondered the beautiful sky. There was never love’s ardor or bliss, Quiet azure had trounced our passions… We would meet in the gray evening mist, By the shore full of ripples and rushes. No more sorrow or love, no more yearning, All would vanish, forgotten, repressed… With it vanished the voice of the mourning, Golden oar, and the white summer dress.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Morgan McComb

    Though I am devoted to poetry, it's always hard for me to write a review on a book of poetry, especially when that poetry was originally written in a language I do not know--therefore, take my review with a grain of American iodized salt. I decided to read some of Blok's work because he is a very influential figure in Russian literature and the influence of his work permeates the novel "Dr. Zhivago," whose movie adaptation I adore and therefore a novel I hope to conquer. These selected works are Though I am devoted to poetry, it's always hard for me to write a review on a book of poetry, especially when that poetry was originally written in a language I do not know--therefore, take my review with a grain of American iodized salt. I decided to read some of Blok's work because he is a very influential figure in Russian literature and the influence of his work permeates the novel "Dr. Zhivago," whose movie adaptation I adore and therefore a novel I hope to conquer. These selected works are arranged in chronological order and the gradual maturation of his work is evident because of this structure, with the earlier poems more focused on structure than substance and the latter poems growing increasingly serious and political. Blok's poetry is, however, exceedingly accessible, addressing and inspired by subjects and issues as different as the feelings of a first love and the metaphysical expectations of an artist/poet and his or her work. Blok's strength is in his imagery with many of his poems beginning with an observation of a seemingly mundane event, such as a young choir girl singing, and expanding into the insecurities of the human condition. His rhythm and musicality is masterful, though some of his poems seem to me exceedingly mawkish and/or lachrymose. This is an excellent introduction to this poet and I highly recommend it for both poetry lovers and poetry novies.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Iavo

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kendra Twenter

  15. 4 out of 5

    Yelena

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Jafarov

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marijana Markalaus

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alba Galmés

  19. 4 out of 5

    Martin Bennett

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Medved

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nikita Kolibanov

  23. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix Rises

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bastián Olea Herrera

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Suri

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Artemisia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Justin •••

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