Nikolai Zabolotsky (1903-1958) was one of the great poets of twentieth-century Russia. As the last link in the Russian Futurist tradition and the first significant poet to come of age in the Soviet period, Zabolotsky wrote poetry both highly experimental and classical. This is the first critical biography of Zabolotsky to appear in English. Goldstein examines not only Zabolotsky's poetic career but also his life, from his obscure origins in the Russian countryside to his arrest and imprisonment in the 1930s. At the same time, Goldstein highlights the deep ambiguity of Zabolotsky's era by exploring the ways in which the poet was influenced both by the artistic avant-garde and by the Soviet scientific establishment.
"Nikolai Zabolotsky: Play for Moral Stakes is a major step in introducing to the western reader a poet who is second to none in the twentieth century, in Russia or elsewhere." Victor Terras, World Literature Today "Goldstein has written a highly erudite book about a difficult subject...she is also impressive in explaining the many references to the Russian classics in his works...Highly recommended for collections in Russian literature and utopian studies." B. Beynen, Choice "Thanks to the efforts of Darra Goldstein, one of the most confusing and frequently misunderstood poets of the Soviet era is now a quantum leap closer to the realm of the comprehensible...Goldstein has produced a book that will shape Zabolotskii studies for years to come." Sarah Pratt, Russian Review "...Darra Goldstein's Nikolai Zabolotsky: Play for Mortal Stakes, the first critical biography of the poet to appear in English, is an important, and long overdue, contribution to our understanding of a previously underrated, and rarely read, poet. For the foreseeable future, it will be required reading for anyone writing about, or teaching, Zabolockij...Play for Mortal Stakes should provide the impetus for further research and interpretation of Zabolockij's life and poetry." Anthony Anemone, Slavic and East European Journal