It occurred to me last night that someone could write a scholarly piece on Mandelstam's oeuvre as a commentary on Pushkin's final testamentary poem, "Exegi Monumentum" (see translation here - the last poem in the group). Poem as complex architecture. Architecture as freedom-in-history, autonomy.

But as I read through the group of Pushkin translations, I was struck by their transparency, directness, simplicity, forcefulness. I got jealous, mired as I am in long-poem obliquities. (Henry jealous of Pushkin. Oh boy.)

Remember many a 90s debate on Buffalo poetics list about stylistic clarity & social engagement. & had to remind myself that I've written many a short poem, too.

Temperament, character, conscience, engagement... & an idea of poetry as written for people at large, the unknown reader. Not poetry for Poetry Empire. Distance, detachment from all that. Free-standing.

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