Kul Sharif Mosque. Kazan, Russia.
I’ve been inside this mosque and it is truly stunning.
100 injured by meteorite falls in Russian Urals -
A meteor streaked across the sky above Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.
Fragments of the meteor fell in a thinly populated area of the Chelyabinsk region, the Emergency Ministry said in a statement.
Interior Ministry spokesman Vadim Kolesnikov said 102 people had called for medical assistance following the incident, mostly for treatment of injuries from glass broken by the explosions.
Kolsenikov also said about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof at a zinc factory had collapsed.
Reports conflicted on what exactly happened in the clear skies. A spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius, told The Associated Press that there was a meteor shower, but another ministry spokeswoman, Elena Smirnikh, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying it was a single meteorite.
Amateur video broadcast on Russian television showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time (0320 GMT), leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.
Crazy. I actually have a friend from this town (who now lives in the US). I saw the video, now I need to find it and post it. She says the they’re putting their moat Russian foot forward and joking about it as a “Severe Chelyabinskii firework” (Суровый Челябинский фейерверк).
(Source: fyeaheasterneurope, via russiangrammar)
A Different Stripe: Happy Birthday Anton Chekhov -
One is brought to the conclusion that Chekhov, whose family had been serfs till the Emancipation and who knew the life of the lower classes, is here contradicting deliberately the Tolstoyan idealization and the Turgenevian idylizing of the peasantry, as, in his stories about religion, he…
Translating Russian Poetry by Bill Bowler -
The original Russian poem is in the form of a Petrarchan sonnet. While retaining the stanza breaks to evoke the original, I decided to translate the poem into free verse, a very robust and flexible form in American versification. This allowed me to stick close to the meaning, line by line.
Translating poetry represents a set of compromises. The pull between form and content poses a big challenge. You can try to recreate the rhyme and meter of the original — both dominant elements in Russian poetry — but it will force you to compromise semantic accuracy, word choice and order, lexical levels, etc.
The words that rhyme in English, for example, are not the words that rhyme in Russian. That is, you can imitate the rhyme scheme, but you will have to rhyme different words. This change cascades through the translation. Alternatively, you can ignore form entirely and try for a “prose” translation of the meaning, but at the cost of the beautiful and exquisite “music” of the lines.
Pushkin translator Walter Arndt preserves Pushkin’s rhymes and meters, and the translations sound like doggerel IMHO. The reader wonders what possible interest Pushkin’s poetry could have.
Nabokov took the other extreme. He did a “literal” prose translation of Evgeny Onegin accompanied by pages of footnotes five times longer than the original poem. It’s rather dull reading, although extremely interesting if you want to study the poem rather than read poetry.
Just as an aside, it is not impossible to preserve rhyme and meter in translation. Konstantin Balmont has done so in translating Poe into Russian, with amazing results.
I try for a middle ground. I give up as self-defeating any attempt to capture the rhyme and meter, but I do take some liberties with the lines when necessary for the sake of the poem in English. I think one of the keys is that the translated poem also has to be a poem in its own right. Although, as someone has said, “poetry” is what’s lost in translation. ♦
All of these thoughts are quite good and necessary. I’m working some translations of my own and grateful to be working on a poet who didn’t care much for rhyme. In a perfect world I would love to keep the meters, which can be quite complex and vary from line to line, but the syllabic systems in both languages don’t really correspond. Russian has a host of prefixes, infixes and suffixes that can shade the meaning of a word or change it entirely while also adding to the metrical count. On the other hand, English has articles and the word ‘is.’ So from time to time a line will line up perfectly (both English and Russian have a natural tendency to iambs), and then the next translated lines will be some combination of quite long and then quite short.
Paul Schmidt in the Introduction to his translation of Khlebnikov’s works The King of Time wrote, “No one rule seems suitable for such a vast and shifting terrain of language.” True, it is about Khlebnikov who was an incredibly inventive writer, but also many other poets also feature a ”vast and shifting terrain” of their own kind, so it seems that the key thing to translate is the vocabulary—in the juxtaposition of language and the construction particular to a poet. For example, I’m trying to retain the sense of the modern re-creation of the medieval “pletnie sloves”—the weaving of words.
Abandoned Wooden Church - Vologda Oblast’, Russia
Amy Knight, Russia: The New Struggle with Putin
Although they have gotten little attention in the Western press, the regional elections taking place throughout Russia on October 14 may be Vladimir Putin’s greatest test since his return to the presidency last spring. With voters in 73 of Russia’s 83 regions going to the polls less than a year after the Kremlin faced allegations of widespread fraud in parliamentary elections, the looming question for Putin is whether he can ensure a favorable outcome without overt manipulation. For the opposition, a primary concern is whether their candidates will even be on the ballot.
Photo: Evgeniya Chirikova, a mayoral candidate in the city of Khimki, being detained during a protest in Moscow, July 19, 2011
History of the Russian State Flag