Russian Formal Poetry Meter

The most obvious way to set poetry off from prose is through meter. When, in the eighteenth century, Russians consciously decided to create a secular literary culture, they had several possible sources to choose from. Though Russia had a rich and varied oral tradition of folk song and heroic poetry, this could not serve as a point ofdeparture. The new literature had to be urbane and European, maximally distinguished from the uneducated entertainment ofthe common folk. Russian poets therefore...

From the ode to the elegy and beyond

3a tto h kto b XoTHHe nan, Ho nepBHH 3ByK XOTHHCKOH OflBI HaM nepBHM KpHKOM H3HH Cran. BnaflHcnaB XogaceBH , He am6om hh eTBipexcTonHHM The years have gnawed away from memory, Who fell at Khotin and for what, But the first sound of the Khotin ode Became our the first cry of life. Vladislav Khodasevich, Not in iambic tetrameter From the vantage point of the twenty-first century, the Russian eighteenth-century ode seems a forbidding and inaccessible genre. The poems are without exception long,...