Ian Probstein

Ian Probstein: Three translations of Osip Mandelstam's 'Stalin's Epigram'

Komer & Melamid, Stalin in Front of Mirror (Tempera and oil on canvas, 72”X48”, 1982-83)

It is said that a translator is like a spy: if everything is fine, the author of the original is praised and the translator is barely noticed; if not, the translator is blamed. Having that in mind, I am going to discuss several translations of Osip Mandelstam’s “Stalin’s Epigram”, which cost him two exiles and eventually, life.

Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) led an unsettled life full of tribulations, wandering and exile. After his Stalin’s epigram of 1933, for which the dictator, who used to say that “vengeance is best when served cold,” never forgave the poet.

Breaking Through: TV interview show with Charles Bernstein & Ian Probstein

host: WJ. O'Reilly

These excerpts are from a 50-minute interview with Charles Bernstein and Ian Probstein on Breaking Through, with W.J. O'Reilly, on eGarage.TV, June 17, 2011.

Full episode here

From Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions


"The Difficult Poem" (excerpt)

Syndicate content