David Samoylov

Poems by David Samoylov

Samoylov, whose real surname was Kaufman, was a student at the Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History from 1938 to 1941, when he interrupted his studies to fight in World War II. Though he had written poetry since his early youth, his first literary efforts were in translations from Polish, Czech, and Hungarian. (He was admitted into the Writers Union as a translator.) Like many of his generation who came of age in wartime, he did not publish his own poetry until after the death of Stalin; his first volume, Blizhnie strani (Neighboring Countries), was published in 1958.

In the 1960s Samoylov emerged as a major highly sophisticated lyric poet. Unlike others of the war generation, he did not dwell on the subject of the war in his poetry. He often turned to historical figures and events to illuminate the modern world — without sacrificing a Mozart-like lightness and abandon in his verse. He was most known for “Pestel, the Poet, and Anna,” one of his finest poems, and for the lines “the forties, fateful forties,” which became a catchphrase.

1946

1961

1963

1964

1966

1981

1986

in italian

David Samoylov, poesie (italiano)

1960