Boris Pasternak. Being Famous is Unbecoming. Translated by Ian Ross Singleton

Also in Translations:

pasternak
Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak. Being Famous is Unbecoming. Translated by Ian Ross Singleton

 
Being famous is unbecoming.

It’s not the way to uplift your craft.

No need to start some kind of summing,

nor gush while gawking at your drafts.

 
The goal of creation? It’s dedication.

It’s not the buzz. It’s not success.

Meaning nothing, avoid elation

at being on people’s lips en masse.
 

You’ve got to live without imposture,

to live so that at the end of it all

there’s a love of space that you nurture

a skill for hearing the future’s call.

 
You have to leave any and all blind spots

within your fate, not among your pages,

passages, chapters, a whole life’s plot,

noted in the margins while it wages.
 

And immerse yourself in namelessness,

and hide some traces that you’ve been,

the way place hides itself in mist

when not one spark is to be seen.

 
Some others on their own life’s way

will cross yours, step in your footprints,

but you shouldn’t be the one to say

which ones are losses and which ones wins.
 

And not one single step should you

retreat from the being that you are,

but be, be alive, live through and through,

live through and through until you part.
 

The Original

Быть знаменитым некрасиво.

Не это подымает ввысь.

Не надо заводить архива,

Над рукописями трястись.
 

Цель творчества – самоотдача,

А не шумиха, не успех.

Позорно, ничего не знача,

Быть притчей на устах у всех.
 

Но надо жить без самозванства,

Так жить, чтобы в конце концов

Привлечь к себе любовь пространства,

Услышать будущего зов.
 

И надо оставлять пробелы

В судьбе, а не среди бумаг,

Места и главы жизни целой

Отчёркивая на полях.
 

И окунаться в неизвестность,

И прятать в ней свои шаги,

Как прячется в тумане местность,

Когда в ней не видать ни зги,
 

Другие по живому следу

Пройдут твой путь за пядью пядь,

Но пораженья от победы

Ты сам не должен отличать.
 

И должен ни единой долькой

Не отступаться от лица,

Но быть живым, живым и только,

Живым и только до конца.
 

About the Author:

Boris_Pasternak_1959_photo
Boris Pasternak
Moscow, Russia

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1890 – 30 May 1960) was a Russian poet, novelist, composer, and literary translator. Pasternak’s first book of poems, My Sister, Life, was published in Berlin in 1922. Pasternak’s translations of stage plays by Goethe, Schiller, Calderón de la Barca, and Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences. Pasternak was the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel that was rejected for publication in the USSR. The manuscript was smuggled to Italy and was first published there in 1957. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1958. The award enraged the Communist Party, which forced him to decline the prize. Doctor Zhivago has been part of the main Russian school curriculum since 2003

About the Translator:

Ian S. photo (1)
Ian Ross Singleton
New York, USA

Ian Ross Singleton is author of the novel Two Big Differences (MGraphics). He teaches Writing at Baruch College and Fordham University. His short stories, translations, reviews, and essays have appeared in journals such as: Saint Ann’s Review; Cafe Review; New Madrid; Asymptote; Ploughshares; and Fiction Writers Review.

Boris Pasternak Борис Пастернак
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A new collection of poems by Ian Probstein. (In Russian)

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Launched in 2012, “Four Centuries” is an international electronic magazine of Russian poetry in translation.

by Ilya Ehrenburg

Ilya Ehrenburg (1891–1967) was one of the most prolific Russian writers of the twentieth century.  Babi Yar and Other Poems, translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya, is a representative selection of Ehrenburg’s poetry, available in English for the first time.

by William Conelly

Young readers will love this delightful work of children’s verse by poet William Conelly, accompanied by Nadia Kossman’s imaginative, evocative illustrations.

by Maria Galina

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by Aleksandr Kabanov

The first bilingual (Russian-English) collection of poems by Aleksandr Kabanov, one of Ukraine’s major poets, “Elements for God” includes poems that predicted – and now chronicle – Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

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