Tuesday 23 September 2008


A fellow student kindly lent me Yevtushenko's A Precocious Autobiography, (1963, Collins and Harvill Press, translated by A.R. MacAndrew) which starts with a bang, though it tends to rant towards the end.

Strong first paragraph, including the line
"...a poet is only a poet when the reader can see him whole as if he held him in the hollow of his hand with all his feelings thoughts and actions."
(No commas.)

When I read his poetry for the first time in the 60s, I was enthralled.

Reading up about Y and his work so many years later, re-reading Babyi Yar, I am less impressed. Some of what he writes seems facile.

Still struggling with Lowell. In his book Yevtushenko writes about reading Pasternak and not understanding him, at first.

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