Georgy Ivanov

Poems by Georgy Ivanov

Ivanov’s father was a member of the military aristocracy. After graduating from the Military Academy in St. Petersburg, Ivanov began to publish his Achemist-inspired poetry in the prominent literary journal Appolon. His first book of poems, Otplytie na ostrov Tsiteru (Sailing to Tsiteru Island) (1912), lacked originality; his third collection, Pamiatnik slavy (Monument to Glory) (1915), was ultrapatriotic and sharply contradicted the antimilitarism of early Mayakovsky and the mocking parody of the war by Severyanin (“a steed, champagne, a dagger!”).

In 1923 Ivanov emigrated to Paris. Though he was a well-known poet, he yielded artistically to the poetry of his young wife, Irina Odoyevtseva, especially to her masterpieces “Ground Glass” and “Coachman,” which were being read and reread everywhere.

What made Ivanov a truly great poet was his evocation of the tragic desperation of emigre life: the feeling of constant pain and suffocation. Whatever superiority Vladislav Khodasevich may have possessed in precision or philosophical depth, Ivanov more than compensated for in human simplicity and the capacity for confession. In the conversations with God that were portrayed in his poems, he was promised a resurrection, which for him meant, as he titled one poem, “Coming Back to Russia — Through Poetry.” The premonition did not deceive him. With the coming of glasnost his poetry has now returned.

1910

1914

1922

1923

1925

1930

1931

1932

1936

1943

1944

1948

1949

1950

1951

1954

1955

1956

1958

in dutch

Geórgi Ivánov (nederlands)

1958