Mandelstam, Olympic trials, memories of Oregon

The other day I mentioned the poem about Stalin that led to Mandelstam’s exile and eventual death. Mandelstam recited it to a gathering of intellectuals at Boris Pasternak’s home one evening. Someone at that gathering informed on him. (Someone will always inform, and have their reasons. We each think it would not be us.) In any case he was first exiled to a remote village, and later, after a short reprieve, sent to a camp in Siberia, which led to his death. This is the poem. In Russian it has the rhythm and sweetness of a nursery rhyme, which contrast with its content: Continue reading “Mandelstam, Olympic trials, memories of Oregon”