Anyone interested in Russian poetry will want to bookmark the site From the Ends to the Beginning: A Bilingual Anthology of Russian Poetry.

The aim of this innovative project is to provide an intelligently chosen, well-translated, and comprehensive anthology of Russian poetry from its beginnings in the 18th century to the contemporary scene. The anthology breaks new ground the in study and appreciation of Russian poetry by including multimedia elements that would have been impossible in any other format:
• Facing texts of Russian originals and English translations of 200 poems that broadly represent more than 225 years of Russian poetry.
• 38 detailed resource pages on the various poets containing extensive biographical information, bibliographies, and links. For many of these poets, is the only English-language source of information on the Internet.
• 75+ previously unavailable archival recordings of poetry performed by Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Mayakovsky, Pasternak, Esenin, Bunin, and others. When recordings by the poets themselves are not available, the site contains performances by leading Russian actors or musical renditions of the works.
• 400+ illustrations of authors, monuments, and manuscript versions of many poems.
• A search engine that enables free-text and Boolean searches of the collection.

To hear Mandelshtam, Akhmatova, and Pasternak reading their own poetry is an amazing experience. (The Mandelshtam recordings are hampered by both the very primitive sound—they sound like Edison cylinders—and by the author’s bardic reciting technique, which takes getting used to, but really, who cares? I had no idea such recordings even existed.)


  1. also see here

  2. That really is a great site. I discovered it when searching for a copy of “?????? ???? ? ?? ??????…” Also, Michael Denner, who mostly runs the site, is very responsive to feedback. He corrected the text of “??????…” a couple of hours after I emailed him.
    I was just browsing and found Majakovskij reading “??????????? ??????????? ? ?????????? ?????????? ????? ?? ????”. Very cool stuff.

  3. Darnit. Safari’s messing up encodings again. Those fields of question marks stand for “Vykhozhu odin ja na dorogu…”, “Vykhozhu”, and “Neobychajnoe prikljuchenie s Vladimirom Majakovskim letom na dache”, respectively. Sorry. :-}

  4. I’ve been listening to Gumilev’s voice. Can’t believe it. And hearing Tsvetaeva saying, at the end of “You walk, and look like me”: “Don’t let it disturb you/My voice from underground”…

  5. Oh! spoke too soon – it did seem too good to be true (and impossible, to boot). So the poems are read by other poeple — still it’s great to have this and be able to follow the Russian. Terrific site.

  6. Jessica Fogel says

    I tried to connect with your website of”archival recordings” but had no luck. I am seeking recordings of Mandelstam reading his poetry. How can I find them? Many thanks, Jessica

  7. Keep trying; I failed a couple of times, then got through. Here‘s the direct link to the .wav file of him reading (in a surprisingly grandiose fashion) “Net, nikogda, nichei ya ne byl sovremennik…”

  8. Jasper Zuijdervliet says

    Looking for A.A. Fet, i found your project. Pushkin and Majakovski, joined in one site. Although we have translated poetry here (see Robert Frost’s definition) and although i do not master the russian language, this translated poetry surely le’s itself be read as poetry!
    I am very inetrested to know, if this work has been published and were i could buy it. (what would be the difference with Gerald Smith’s “Contemporary Russian Poetry; a bilingual anthology”?

  9. Well, according to the site it’s “A Bilingual Web Anthology of Russian Verse,” so I presume it’s only online. If you want to know whether a print version is contemplated, you should e-mail the contacts given at the site. I certainly agree that translated poems should be read as poetry!

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