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July 14, 2015

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New Translations of 50 Poems by Pushkin and Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago Poetry
Kindly read the samples and reviews of my translations below. I would greatly appreciate your interest and comment at

From Pushkin:

Could I forget the wondrous vision
The day you first appeared to me
As an elusive apparition,
As genius of pure beauty’s glee.

Far-off, in chains of desperation
I dragged my days for long enough:
No grace divine, no inspiration,
No tears of joy, no life, no love.


Oh yes, I loved you, yet it makes me wonder
If love has run its course – perhaps not quite;
But I have never meant it to encumber;
To sadden you is furthest from my mind.
In sorrow did I love you, silence only,
Now timorous, now jealous to excess;
I loved you, dear, as truthfully, as fondly
As you’ll be loved, God grant, by someone else.

From Pasternak:

It snowed… it snowed on all the land,
Its every road and way.
A candle on the table burned,
A candle burned away.

The candle caught a breath of wind;
Temptation swept across
As if an angel raised his wings
And held them like a cross.

It snowed all February long,
And just as some light may,
The candle went on burning strong,
The candle burned away.

Life is also but a swift
Moment to dissolve
In the others as a gift
Of ourselves to all.

Hail the wedding pushing deep
With a window shove;
Hail the song and hail the sleep,
Hail the blue-gray dove!


But who are we, from where
If all those years galore
Left nothing but hot air,
Yet we are here no more?

Dmitri Bykov, a well known author, poet, critic and biographer, called my translation work “a phenomenal achievement, some poems deserving a place in the English and American literature.” He writes, ”Among all the translators of Pushkin I have read, you have demonstrated the most creativity, sensitivity and musicality. I’d venture to say that while reading your English-language Prophet I felt almost the same sacred trepidation as I experience each time I read the original.”
Olga Peters Hasty, Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures from Yale University, professor of Russian literature at Princeton University, president of the North American Pushkin Society, believes that these translations are “lovely and sensitive.” She agrees with Bykov calling them “exquisite.” She writes, “You have taken on and accomplished a noble task. I think it matters a great deal to have Pushkin’s and Pasternak’s poems sound both so natural in the target language and so close to the original.”
Ann Pasternak Slater, Boris Pasternak’s niece, a writer, teacher and translator, writes that my translations of Pasternak’s poetry reminds of her mother’s, whose work, Pasternak himself believed, produced the best versions of his poems in English.

Please read more samples and reviews at
I do care for your comments.

Thank you,
Yuri Menis

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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