Selected Poems

Selected Poems

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781468308105
  • 192  Pages
  • Adult


When the poet Vladislav Khodasevich fled the Soviet Union in 1922, he left behind a country that was, with every passing day, growing more ominous. And yet in finding a way out—and outliving many of his contemporaries—Khodasevich was nearly erased from the tumultuous literary history of Russia’s long twentieth century. The publication of his Selected Poems is an essential and long-overdue tribute to this extraordinarily gifted poet.
Born in 1886, Khodasevich came of age among the famed avant-gardists of Russian poetry, but unlike the major modernists of the age—the Symbolists and the Futurists among them—he sought inspiration neither in esoteric doctrines, nor in grand pronouncements. Instead, he was determined to find meaning in the world, and each of his poems reflects this tireless, often heroic, sometimes deeply bitter engagement with his surroundings.
An innovative classicist in an era taken in by relentless experimentation, Khodasevich was hailed by many of his peers in the Soviet Union and Berlin, including Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote that Khodasevich would “remain the pride of Russian poetry as long as its last memory lives.” Brilliantly translated by Peter Daniels, and with a richly informed introduction by Michael Wachtel, Selected Poems is a stunning confirmation of that assessment.


“Vladislav Khodasevich is one of the great undiscovered poets of the twentieth century. His verse is inventive, sharp and sensuous, full of the pain of exile yet suffused with hope and belief in the redemptive power of poetry. The greatest compliment to Peter Daniels is that his translations capture not only the semantic content, but the rhythm and the soul of Khodasevich’s art.” —Martin Sixsmith, author of Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East
“Khodasevich`s best poems have the spicy bitterness of the later Yeats. This note is evident in Peter Daniels’ admirable versions, which combine accuracy and fidelity, yet still manage to read like real poems written in English.” —Ruth Fainlight, author of Sugar-Paper Blue
“Meticulous and elegant. Daniels has found a voice and a tone in English which is as sophisticated and urbane as Khodasevich’s own. These translations have the same classical restraint and sense of lyrical melancholy as the original poems; I hope they bring Khodasevich’s poetry the wider attention it deserves.” —Sasha Dugdale, author of Red House
“Not reading Russian, I’m grateful to Peter Daniels for these clear, resourceful, metrical translations of Khodasevich. Given Nina Berberova’s portrait of the man in her fine-grained memoir, and Nabokov’s startling estimate of him as the greatest of twentieth-century Russian poets, I was eager to get a sense of his achievement. Here he is, the reinventor of Pushkin, alert, reticent, his acute powers of observation inflected with a wry melancholy.” —Alfred Corn, author of The Poem’s Heartbeat: A Manual of Prosody