Verses and Versions: Three Centuries of Russian Poetry Selected and Translated - Vladimir Nabokov

Author, translator, and teacher—these three sides of Vladimir Nabokov are showcased in  Verses And Versions: Three Centuries of Russian Poetry (Harcourt, $40). First proposed in the 1950s, the idea of a volume of Nabokov’s English renderings of Russian poetry is finally a reality, co-edited by Nabokov’s biographer, Brian Boyd, and Stanislav Shvabrin. In addition to generous selections (in the original Russian and in English) of the works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Blok, Fet, and Mandelstam, among other 18th- through 20th-century poets, this anthology also includes Nabokov’s translations of several French poets, his own English lyrics, and essays on poetry, poets, and the art of translation which, as he noted in a poem to Pushkin, might at best come up with “roadside prose--/All thorn, but cousin to your rose.”