The Prison Poems of Nikolai Bukharin
Distributed for Seagull Books
Nikolai Bukharin (1888–1938), an original Bolshevik leader and a founder of the Soviet state, spent the last year of his life imprisoned by Stalin, awaiting a trial and eventual execution. Remarkably during that time, from March 1937 to March 1938, Bukharin wrote four book-length manuscripts by hand in his prison cell. Seventy years later, The Prison Poems is the last of the four prison manuscripts, which include How It All Began: The Prison Novel, and Socialism and Its Culture, to be published, allowing readers to grasp Bukharin’s vision in its full extent.
Bukharin organized the nearly 180 poems in this volume, written from June to November 1937, into several series. One dealing with forerunners to the 1917 Russian Revolution and another focusing on the Russian Civil War contain commentary not found in the other prison manuscripts. The same is true of the “Lyrical Intermezzo” poems for and about Anna Larina, his young wife, from whom he was separated by his imprisonment.
This first English translation of Bukharin’s Prison Poems is a compelling read, evidencing the powerful intersection of politics and art.