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Andrey Voznesensky at the Miami Book Fair International of 1990

Andrey Andreyevich Voznesensky (Russian: Андре́й Андре́евич Вознесе́нский) (born 12 May 1933, Moscow) is a Russian poet and writer who has been referred to by Robert Lowell as "one of the greatest living poets in any language." He lives and works in Moscow.

Early in his life, Andrey was fascinated with painting and architecture, in 1957 graduating from the Moscow Architectural Institute. His enthusiasm for poetry, though, proved to be stronger. While still a teenager, he sent his poems to Boris Pasternak; the friendship between the two had a strong influence on the young poet.

His first poems were published in 1958 and immediately reflected his unique style. His lyrics are characterized by his tendency "to measure" the contemporary person by modern categories and images, by the eccentricity of metaphors, by the complex rhythmical system and sound effects. Vladimir Mayakovsky and Pablo Neruda have been cited among the poets who influenced him most.

In 1960s, during the so-called Thaw, Voznesensky frequently traveled abroad: to the U.S., France, Germany, Italy and other countries. Popularity of Voznesensky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Bella Akhmadulina were marked by performances in front of the adoring thousands at the stadiums, in concert halls and universities. One collection of his poems, "Antimiry" ("Anti-worlds") served as the basis for a famous performance at the Taganka Theater in 1965.

Voznesensky's friendship with many contemporary writers, artists and other intellectuals is reflected in his poetry and essays. He is known to wider audiences for the superhit Million of Scarlet Roses that he penned for Alla Pugacheva in 1984 and for the hugely successful rock opera Juno and Avos (1979), based on the life and death of Nikolay Rezanov.

In 1978 Voznesensky was awarded the USSR State Prize. He is an honorable member of ten academies, including Russian academy of learning (1993), the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Parisian Académie Goncourt and others.

A minor planet 3723 Voznesenskij, discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1976 is named after him.[1]

Modern Nature

(translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov)

Red cows

on the asphalt road have settled.

Lazing on the asphalt pan they lie.

We drive them round

for cows are sacred!

They are loyal to the highway,

we wonder why.

"Old herdsman, we want our question answered:

Why have the cows gone mad?" "God forbid!

The point is that flies do not like asphalt."

Those modern cows! They are wise indeed!

They got it, the sly ones! Cattle of genius!

Unlike the poor, unfortunate flies.

"The flies know that asphalt

is carcinogenic."

Those modern flies! They are really wise!


  1. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 314. ISBN 3540002383.  

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Andrey Andreyevich Voznesensky (born 1933-05-12) is one of the group of Russian poets who first came to notice during the Khrushchev era. He is often compared and contrasted with his friend Yevtushenko.



  • Everything's sliding apart.
    Yet, "Long live everything!"
    For the art of creation
    Is older than the art of killing.
    • "Lines to Robert Lowell"; translation by Louis Simpson and Vera Dunham, from Vera Dunham and Max Hayward (eds.) Nostalgia for the Present (New York: Doubleday, 1978) p. 111.
  • It's shameful to spot a lie and not to name it,
    shameful to name it and then to shut your eyes,
    shameful to call a funeral a wedding
    and play the fool at funerals besides.
    • Stanley Kunitz (trans.) Story Under Full Sail (New York: Doubleday, 1974) p. 20.

Antiworlds, and the Fifth Ace

Quotations are cited from Patricia Lake and Max Hayward (eds.) Antiworlds, and the Fifth Ace (New York: Basic Books, 1967), to which page-numbers also refer.

  • I am Goya
    of the bare field, by the enemy's beak gouged
    till the craters of my eyes gape
    I am grief
    I am the tongue
    of war, the embers of cities
    on the snows of the year 1941
    I am hunger.
    • "I am Goya"; translated by Stanley Kunitz, p. 3.
  • I have hurled westward the ashes of the uninvited guest!
    and hammered stars into the unforgetting sky – like nails
    I am Goya.
    • "I am Goya"; translated by Stanley Kunitz, p. 3.
  • Along a parabola life like a rocket flies,
    Mainly in darkness, now and then on a rainbow.
    • "Parabolic Ballad"; translated by W. H. Auden, p. 113.
  • The urge to kill, like the urge to beget,
    Is blind and sinister. Its craving is set
    Today on the flesh of a hare: tomorrow it can
    Howl the same way for the flesh of a man.
    • "Hunting a Hare"; translated by W.H. Auden, p. 13.


  • Akhmatova's seeming successor as the best living Russian poet is Voznesensky. His talent is dazzling. He has the gift of fresh, witty perception, works with unusual images and modern rhythms. His poetry is marvelously dynamic.
  • With good reason, Voznesensky is a hero to all those in the Soviet Union who want their poets to tell them the truth. But at the risk of his career, freedom, and perhaps even his life, he has never been able to do much more than drop hints.
    • Clive James From the Land of Shadows (London: Picador, 1983) p. 222.

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