December 05, 2012

Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev

I first learned of the Russian Symbolist/Romantic poet Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev and of his incredible works this previous June.

The imagery he employs is vivid, intense, full of vitality, and ruthlessly mesmerizing- very much the same way that Hilda Doolittle's works are. I love how he toys with and fills traditional forms (ballads, metronomes, rhyme schemes, etc) with these incredibly powerful and incredibly wooing images. The scope and depth of Tyutchev’s talent as a writer and a poet are remarkable.

If you haven’t read his works, especially if you enjoy poetry and good writing, you seriously don’t know the state of deprivation you’re in.

Along with another awesome poet, Christina Rossetti, Tyutchev was born on this day (Rossetti in 1830, Tyutchev in 1803).

This work of Tyutchev’s, translated by Vladimir Nabokov, is a little dark, but impressive to say the least. Please, let me know what you think of it …


Now the ashen shadows mingle,
tints faded, sounds remote.
Life has dwindled to a single
vague reverberating note.
In the dusk I hear the humming
of a moth I cannot see.
Whence is this oppression coming?
I’m in all, and all’s in me.

Gloom so dreamy, so lulling,
flow into my deepest deep,
flow, ambrosial and dulling,
steeping everything in sleep.
With oblivion’s obscuration
fill my senses to the brim,
make me taste obliteration,
in this dimness let me dim.


Please, for the love of God ... let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that Tutchev is a symbolist poet. In fact am a Russian and can tell, that Tutchev has a spirit of true classic poetry of Pushkin, of nobleman poetry. He uses words sometimes archaic or too "poetical" for Russian ear. Tutchev thought himself not as a professional poet - just a Russian man, who writes poetry when he fancy. But still - of course - he is a great poet. (excuse my possibly illiterate English)

David C Brown said...

It did strike me at bit 'poetical'. I wondered if it was the translation.

Roger Knox said...

Tyutchev is not a symbolist but he seems a precurser --was much praised by the proto-symbolist V. Soloviev. I do not know Russian but see him as a contemporary of Pushkin in language, as the Russian commentator notes, who nevertheless (owing to the time he spent in Munich) was influenced by the German Romanticism of the philosopher Schelling. I see: the 4 elements earth, air, fire, water; Nature personified;love and strife and ceaseless change which go back to pre-Socratic Greek philosophers Heraclitis and Empedocles. All of this can be found in Tyutchev.

The Poets

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