Review of Stray Dog Cabaret

I have just finished reading Stray Dog Cabaret, an anthology of Modernist Russian poetry translated by Paul Schmidt. The anthology takes it’s name from the Stray Dog Cabaret (or Cafe), a short lived St. Petersburg restaraunt (open from 1911 to 1915) where many poets met to share their works. What is interesting about this collection is how it is arranged, poems are not organized by poet or linearly by appearance. You would have to go ahead and read it to see what I mean. The three major movements in Russian poetry are represented, the Symbolists, Futurists, and one uniquely Russian: the Acmeists. Some of the poets included are Anna Akhmatova, Sergei Esensin, Osip Mandelstam, Vladimir Mayakoysky, future Nobel Laureate Boris Pasternak, and my personal favorite Alexander Blok. I know most people probably haven’t heard of any of these writers, neither had I before reading this (except Pasternak), and many people don’t read poetry at all, but you should give this one a chance. It captures the essense of post Tolstoi pre Lenin Russia.


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