"His life was so short..."
by Nikolai Morshen
(translated from Russian by Vladimir Golstein and Jill Pearlman)

  1. His life was so short: only forty years.
  2. There is not a word of truth in these words.
  3. He lived through two wars, one coup d'état,
  4. Three famines, four changes of government,
  5. Six states, two real passions.
  6. If you translate all that into years, you'd have five hundred.
Packingtown Review – Vol.14, Fall 2020

Nikolai Morshen (1917-2001) is considered one of the best poets of Russian emigration. Born in Kiev and educated in Odessa, Morshen ended up in Germany after World War Two. He moved to United States in 1950, where he taught and wrote poetry. His collections include The Seal (Тюлень, 1959), Punctuation: Colon (Двоеточие, 1967), and The Echo and the Mirror (Эхо и зеркало, 1979). Morshen is a highly skillful and highly imaginative poet whose work has been translated by Richard Wilbur, among others.

Vladimir Golstein is the Associate Professor of Slavic Studies and the Chair of the Department of Slavic Studies at Brown University. He is the author and co-author of books on Mikhail Lermontov, Feodor Dostoevsky and Svetlana Aleksievich, as well as numerous articles that cover all aspects of Russian fiction, poetry, and film.

Jill Pearlman is a poet and a journalist. Her poetry appears in Salamander, Barrow Street, Via Negativa, and elsewhere. With Vladimir Golstein, she translated and published several poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (The Other Shore, Vol. 2, 2011) and Sophia Parnok (Inventory, #3, 2012). Her webiste is jillpearlman.com.

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