1. Jakobson reads Khlebnikov

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    February 7, 2017 by AK

    As a follow-up to my recent posts on Khlebnikov (it should have been a prequel), I’m linking to three short audio clips. This is Roman Jakobson reading poetry by Khlebnikov in 1954, more than 40 years after first meeting the poet. Incantation by Laughter (1908-9): audio, text. Grasshopper (1908-9): audio, text. He Said: audio. It’s is …
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  2. Bobeobi by Khlebnikov, Part Two

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    January 30, 2017 by AK

    Paul Schmidt’s translation of Bobeobi can be found here, and Ronald Vroon’s comment explaining the logic of Khlebnikov sound-painting is accessible via Google Books. Schmidt goes for “lipsong,” “eyesong,” “eyebrowsong” to circumvent the reflexivity problem. Raymond Cooke gets the reflexives wrong but, like Vroon (even in more detail), clarifies Khlebnikov’s sonic symbolism: ‘Bobeobi’ is clearly …
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  3. Bobeobi by Khlebnikov, Part One

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    January 29, 2017 by AK

    Marina Warner’s blog post inspired my notes on Nikolai Gumilev’s play Gondla and its early performances by the Rostov troupe, Theatrical Workshop. But that’s not enough. The first thing I wanted to write about after reading Warner’s dispatch from Moscow was the poem by Khlebnikov she cited – probably his only work that is somewhat familiar to the public …
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  4. A poem by Khlebnikov: preliminary notes on reflexive verbs

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    January 26, 2017 by AK

    I really want to go back to Khlebnikov and bobeobi – a coinage of his that not only gained a measure of international recognition but made it into the Urban Dictionary. “[T]he most powerfull [sic] undescribable force on the earth,” no arguing with that. But I have to dispose with the prolegomena first, and they keep …
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  5. Gondla in 1922

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    January 22, 2017 by AK

    Finally, after two preliminary posts, a longer excerpt from Mikhail Kuzmin’s 1922 review of Theatrical Workshop’s Gondla. (And I haven’t yet gotten to the Khlebnikov part.) The original text can be found here, as part of a collection of Kuzmin’s theater criticism, and here. Both texts share the same OCR error: “logical” instead of “poetic.” In …
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  6. The politics of name transcription

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    August 28, 2016 by AK

    For whatever reasons – ideological or scholarly or both – Noam Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar was not accepted into the mainstream of Soviet linguistics. On the other hand, the professor’s criticisms of US policies were a welcome addition to the trove of prominent Americans’ quotes on the badness of America, an indispensable propaganda tool. People in the …
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  7. Not an old fool: an antithesis

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    November 23, 2005 by AK

    Ascherson gets a free pass for this: But icons are difficult to write about critically. How good a poet was she really? To me as a non-Russian, her contemporary Marina Tsvetaeva seems as a writer to be richer and more astonishing. I know Russians who now dismiss Akhamatova as ‘a minor poet’. Perhaps Ascherson would …
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  8. Communist Eugenics

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    September 16, 2004 by AK

    Back in the 1970, Dmitry Galkovsky penned a collection of notes, somewhat in Vassily Rozanov’s style, which he entitled The Endless Dead End. Naturally, it could not be published at the time except by the Samizdat, and had to wait until the late 1980s to appear in print. Galkovsky later supplied the original text with …
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  9. 0

    July 10, 2004 by AK

    Bad news I was going to write about the banking crisis emerging out of thin air in Russia when news came that Paul Khlebnikov, the editor-in-chief of Forbes‘ Russian edition, was shot in his head near his office in Moscow. He died in an ambulance shortly. Khlebnikov, a descendant of Russian émigrés who left the …
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