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Leningrad Poetry 1953–1975

The Thaw Generation


Emily Lygo

This is the first book-length study of the outstanding generation of Leningrad poets whose careers began during the Khrushchev Thaw. The text brings together memoirs, interviews, and archival research to construct an account of the world of poetry in Leningrad, in which many now-famous figures began writing. The author describes the institutions, official events, unofficial groups, and informal activities that were attended by many young poets, including the pre-eminent poet of this generation, Iosif Brodsky. Alongside a detailed study of Brodsky’s work from the early 1970s are close readings of two other major poets from this generation whose work has often been overlooked, Viktor Sosnora and Dmitry Bobyshev.


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Acknowledgements ix Note on Transliteration of Russian Words and Names xi Introduction 1 Part 1 11 Chapter 1 The Post-Stalin Thaw 1953–1964 13 Chapter 2 After the Thaw, 1965–1975 83 Part 2 131 Chapter 3 Officially Published Poetry and Aleksandr Kushner 133 Chapter 4 Viktor Sosnora 173 Chapter 5 Dmitry Bobyshev 233 Chapter 6 Iosif Brodsky 275 viii Conclusions 323 Appendix 1 Principal LITOs and Literary Groups in Leningrad 1953–1975 325 Appendix 2 Unofficial Groups of Poets in Leningrad 1953–1975 329 Appendix 3 Statistics Concerning the Admission of Poets to the Leningrad Writers’ Union 1953–1975 331 Bibliography 335 Index 353

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