Alexander Puskhin: Russia's greatest poet and his African roots

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1837) is Russia's greatest poet, and he is considered the Shakespeare of Russia. That Puskin had African roots from his great grandfather Abram Gannibal is beginning to become common knowledge.  

One of Pushkin's most famous poems is Winter morning, which he wrote in 1824 for a woman. 

Winter morning
© Translation to english by Mikhail Kneller

Cold frost and sunshine: day of wonder!
But you, my friend, are still in slumber--
Wake up, my beauty, time belies:
You dormant eyes, I beg you, broaden
Toward the northerly Aurora,
As though a northern star arise!

Recall last night, the snow was whirling,
Across the sky, the haze was twirling,
The moon, as though a pale dye,
Emerged with yellow through faint clouds.
And there you sat, immersed in doubts,
And now, -- just take a look outside:

The snow below the bluish skies,
Like a majestic carpet lies,
And in the light of day it shimmers.
The woods are dusky. Through the frost
The greenish fir-trees are exposed;
And under ice, a river glitters.

The room is lit with amber light.
And bursting, popping in delight
Hot stove still rattles in a fray.
While it is nice to hear its clatter,
Perhaps, we should command to saddle
A fervent mare into the sleight?

And sliding on the morning snow
Dear friend, we'll let our worries go,
And with the zealous mare we'll flee.
We'll visit empty ranges, thence,
The woods, which used to be so dense
And then the shore, so dear to me.

Read more Poetry here 

Alexander Pushkin: The Collected Stories  

Alexander Pushkin The Father of Russian Literature

An intro on Pushkin's life 

 Poem recital in Russian

Artist Maria Buyondo, who was born in Russia, shows how it sounds in Russian.
she writes, " This video piece examines language and memory from Soviet Union era.
This piece is about recital a poem by Alexander Pushkin.I had to learn this poem in my first grade in school in Moscow. In my attempt of recitation the poem, I can only remember the first verse. The image next to the video is the audience. The installation of this piece is a single channel video that is facing the school photograph."


Pushkin’s Blackness

Morgan Jerkins wrote the story 'Alexander Pushkin’s Blackness' on Bookriot. She writes: "Pushkin was born in 1799 and although he was an aristocrat, he was proud of his Blackness. In ‘Eugene Onegin’, he writes:

    It’s time to drop astern the shape
    of the dull shores of my disfavour,
    and there, beneath your noonday sky,
    my Africa, where waves break high,
    to mourn for Russia’s gloomy savour,
    land where I learned to love and weep,
    land where my heart is buried deep. "

But this  unclear Black reference was central to Pushkin’s identity, writes the Guardian. "Sometimes he used his African heritage to position himself as a Byronic outsider hero, as when speaking of “my Africa”, in Onegin, as if he’d been there.

He called American slaves “my brothers” while owning Russian slaves of his own and insisting – as Nabokov’s translation of his 1830 poem My Genealogy has it – Gannibal was: “The emperor’s bosom friend, not a slave.” At other times, he reproduced stereotypes of the day, as when he pictures Ibrahim with “jealously [beginning] to seethe in his African blood” – a trope that society gossips applied to Pushkin himself after his tragic duel."

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