SRPA File-AN94253577

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Dear Walter,
I was thinking about our conversations about translation, about how a poem is never really translated because the sounds, the essence of the poem change when the language changes. So the best that can be is a new poem built on the bones of the old. I am thinking about Pushkin. Of course, you are thinking, Stas thinks about Pushkin all the time. But if that is true, that translation of a poem makes a different, maybe equally beautiful but still different poem, then there are few people in the world today who really love and appreciate Pushkin. For there are very few Russians. Perhaps a few thousand? And of those, how many have pieces of Pushkin by heart? I am a man on an island, old friend, a tiny island, and the water is rising. The poems and plays of Pushkin, the way we would picnic in the winter, drinking sweet sweet tea from a glass, little things that are very dear to me, they are all disappearing. "Ecstacy is a glass of tea and a piece of sugar in the mouth," Pushkin says. But it is not the same in exile. I do not want to be the last Russian. You know it is easy to ignore it, when you go out in the streets of Washington D.C. and everything seems so normal. You go into the diner and you get your bacon and eggs and coffee in those heavy ceramic coffee cups you Americans all love. But your culture is rooted in Europe old friend. The Mona Lisa is gone. Michelangelo's David is also gone. Berlin is not a city anymore, at least not for us. I am sorry old friend. Soon, I am afraid, they will be here, and America will shrink. You may survive, to run ahead of them the way I did. Behind you, all you hold dear will be destroyed. Ahead of us is death, at best, and at worst we will become monsters with no memory of Pushkin or Goethe or those beautiful German military strategists you have so carefully translated. I am a coward. But I will not be the last Russian. And I will not be a monster. Good bye.
Sincerely, Stanislaw Ivanovich Ozerov

  • This letter contains the third Document Control Number the AAA is looking for: gt2wqy56sjzh
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