Some of the best verses by four Russian greats - Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Yevgeni Yevtushenko and Andrei Vosnesensky - have now found a new life in Malayalam. Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar on Tuesday released ‘Russian Kavithakal’, a translation of 36 Russian poems by poet Rosemary and published by the Russkiy Mir Foundation, Moscow, and the Pushkin Centre for Russian Language, Russian Cultural Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
In the collection, there are ten poems by Yevtushenko, including ‘Babi Yar’ and ‘Birthday’; nine by Pasternak (‘1918’, ‘After the Storm’ and ‘My Sister, Life’ are included); seven by Vosnesensky (‘Nose’ and ‘Fate’) and ten poems by Akhmatova which include ‘A Widow in Black’ and ‘Crucifix.’
‘’The selection of poems was made by the Russian Cultural Centre. There are full poems as well as portions of larger poems in the collection,’’ Rosemary, who received this year’s Esenin Award named after Russian lyric poet Sergei Esenin, said.
The slim volume also contains brief biographies of the poets. Some of these poems, Yevtushenko’s ‘Babi Yar’ is the perfect example, have been translated into Malayalam before. One problem with Rosemary’s translation is that it is a translation of a translation.
‘’My translation of the poems is based on the English translations. Some originality must have got lost when it was first translated into English. And this is a translation of a translation and that obviously has its problems,’’ she said.
First secretary of the Russian Embassy Andrey Ermolenko received the first copy from the Tourism Minister.