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This review is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.

A Different Snow vladimir khodasevich, Selected Poems, trans. by Peter Daniels (Angel Classics) £12.95

Khodasevich was a contemporary of Tsvetaeva and shared with her a sense of tragedy and quiet dislocation. Though formally more modest, Khodasevich’s verse contains moments of lyrical genius. These buoyant translations, exquisitely rendered by Peter Daniels, capture the essence of Khodasevich and may be considered on a par with other remarkable translations of Russian poetry, namely James Greene’s Penguin Mandelshtam (1977) and Judith Hemschemeyer’s Canongate Akhmatova (1997). Daniels’ versions are at once close to the primary meaning of the Russian and, where he judges it necessary, inventive in their suggestions as to how the poems may be conveyed in English in ways that both convince and excite.

Included in this edition are examples of Khodasevich’s first forays into verse, Youth (1908) and Happy Little House (1914), as well as the more complex, highly individual collections, The Heavy Lyre (1922) and European Night (1927). Khodasevich was heavily influenced by the symbolism of Derzhavin, Sologub and Pushkin, and his early work, while faithful to a sense of aesthetic ‘break’, is strewn with examples of seemly good humour. At times this becomes the self-conscious vocation of the poet, as in ‘Petrovsky Park’ (‘And staring, he outstared the east, / so sharp a stare had he; / the people clustered round below / in taciturnity; / the slender band that held him / was very hard to see’); at other times, for example in ‘Gold’, the poem as it were stands before time (‘I want to rise again as the spring corn, / circle the ancient track that the stars follow […] and ...


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