Andrey Voznesensky

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Andrey Voznesensky in 2008

Andrey Andreyevich Voznesensky (May 12, 1933June 1, 2010) was one of the group of Russian poets who first came to notice during the Khrushchev era. He is often compared and contrasted with his friend Yevtushenko.


  • Everything's sliding apart.
    Yet, "Long live everything!"
    For the art of creation
    Is older than the art of killing.
    • "Lines to Robert Lowell"; translation by Louis Simpson and Vera Dunham, from Vera Dunham and Max Hayward (eds.) Nostalgia for the Present (New York: Doubleday, 1978) p. 111.

  • It's shameful to spot a lie and not to name it,
    shameful to name it and then to shut your eyes,
    shameful to call a funeral a wedding
    and play the fool at funerals besides.
    • Stanley Kunitz (trans.) Story Under Full Sail (New York: Doubleday, 1974) p. 20.

Antiworlds, and the Fifth Ace[edit]

Quotations are cited from Patricia Lake and Max Hayward (eds.) Antiworlds, and the Fifth Ace (New York: Basic Books, 1967), to which page-numbers also refer.

  • I am Goya
    of the bare field, by the enemy's beak gouged
    till the craters of my eyes gape
    I am grief
    I am the tongue
    of war, the embers of cities
    on the snows of the year 1941
    I am hunger.
    • "I am Goya"; translated by Stanley Kunitz, p. 3.

  • I have hurled westward the ashes of the uninvited guest!
    and hammered stars into the unforgetting sky – like nails
    I am Goya.
    • "I am Goya"; translated by Stanley Kunitz, p. 3.

  • Along a parabola life like a rocket flies,
    Mainly in darkness, now and then on a rainbow.

  • The urge to kill, like the urge to beget,
    Is blind and sinister. Its craving is set
    Today on the flesh of a hare: tomorrow it can
    Howl the same way for the flesh of a man.
    • "Hunting a Hare"; translated by W.H. Auden, p. 13.


  • Akhmatova's seeming successor as the best living Russian poet is Voznesensky. His talent is dazzling. He has the gift of fresh, witty perception, works with unusual images and modern rhythms. His poetry is marvelously dynamic.
  • With good reason, Voznesensky is a hero to all those in the Soviet Union who want their poets to tell them the truth. But at the risk of his career, freedom, and perhaps even his life, he has never been able to do much more than drop hints.
    • Clive James From the Land of Shadows (London: Picador, 1983) p. 222.

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