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Selected Poetry from a Verbal Acrobat


Anatoly Genrikovich Naiman, poet, novelist, critic and literary translator, was born in 1936 into a family of followers of Tolstoy. Having studied as an engineer, he became one of the Leningrad group of young poets (including his friend Joseph Brodsky) who gathered around Anna Akhmatova. He was her literary secretary from 1962 until her death in 1966, and wrote the invaluable and popular memoir, Remembering Anna Akhmatova. Two of his novels (most recently Kablukov in 2005) were short-listed for the Russian Booker Prize.


Naiman's work as critic, memoirist, and translator (of Leopardi, Provençal poets, and T. S. Eliot, among others) has often eclipsed his own poetry. Lions and Acrobats—a selection of work from his first four books of poetry in Russian—displays, for the first time in English, the full breadth of Naiman's poetic output.


Anatoly Naiman has been a fellow at Oxford University and at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center and has lectured on Russian literature at a host of universities in Europe and America.


F. D. Reeve was a poet, a scholar, an anthologist, and the author of a dozen books of translation from Russian and reportage on Russian affairs, including Five Short Novels by Turgenev, the two-volume Anthology of Russian Plays, The Garden (Poems by Bella Akhmadulina), and Robert Frost in Russia, which was also published by Zephyr Press.


Margo Shohl Rosen is a poet and translator whose work has been published in leading publications. She studied Slavic languages and literatures at Columbia University, and in 2004, was co-winner of the Slavic Department's Pushkin Prize for best poetry translation.

Lions and Acrobats, by Anatoly Naiman

  • Lions and Acrobats
    Anatoly Naiman
    from Russian by F. D. Reeve and Margo Shohl Rosen
    ISBN 0-939010-82-8 (paper) 
    5½ x 8
    150 pages

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