Reprinted from yesterday late editions.
Soviet poem Andrei Voznesensky read his poems to an invited audience of poets, politicians, arts burocrats, diplomats and Soviet scholars at the Library of Congress Wednesday night in a program co-sponsored by the Library and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.
The first poet to receive a fellowship from the Kennan Institute. Voznesensky is in Washington for three months to do research on one of his long-standing interests, the links between current Russian and American poetry. The late Robert Lowell was a friend and admirer of Voznesensky, and Wednesday's program which was originally to have been introduced by Lowell was dedicated instead to Lowell's memory.
Voznesensky, who came in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] in the 80's is currentlypopular in the Soviet Union, where his poets appear in editions [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] figure unthinkable for a volume of poetry in the United States. A Lyric poet of a decidedly Hamboyan [WORDS ILLEGIBLE]. Voznesensky has mumured [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] directly establishment the Soviet literary establishment while remainder open to modern influences instyle and subject matter.
Joseph Duffy, chairman-director of the National Endowmant for the Humanities, welcomed Wednesday night's audience with reminiscences on Lowell's sense of civic obligation and political engagement, eulogizing him as "a man in love with learning and engaged in a quest for understanding that verged on desperation."
Later in the evening, Voznesensky offered a more personal recollection of Lowell in a new poem. "Family Graveyard," in which he described Lowell's habit of carrying his head to one side, check on his shoulder, "tight as on a violin held somehow out of sight."
The reading was bi-lingual one, with Amrican poet and translater William Jay Smith a former poetry consultant at the Library reading each poem in English translation before Voznesensky rendering of the original, and the contrast between Smith's calm chanting was itself instructive.
Though the poems and translations were clearly parallel in rhetorical gesture, the readers were so different in volume and voive that one felt at times as if these were two separate readings with two separate audiences. At the high points, the two came together, however, and in the end. Voznesnesky read an onomatiopeotic poem evoking the bells of Moscow shich hot and needed no translation.