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Better than Fiction (non fiction)


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Nikolai Klyuev: Time and Text, Place and Poet
by Michael Makin

Nikolai Klyuev is the first book in English to examine the life and work of this enigmatic poet. Klyuev (1884–1937) rose to prominence in the early twentieth century as the first of the so-called "new peasant poets" but later fell victim to Stalinist hostility to both his cultural ideology and his homosexuality. He was arrested and exiled in 1933, then shot in 1937.


Klyuev’s work incorporates rich elements of folklore, mysticism, politics, and religion, and he sometimes invokes arcane Russian syntax and vocabulary. Makin’s feat is particularly notable because Klyuev was often elusive in his own accounts of his life, and Makin successfully brings into focus the poet’s deliberate strategies of self-mythologization. Nikolai Klyuev is an indispensable guide to the life and the work of an important poet winning wider recognition outside of Russia.

Published May 15th 2016 by Northwestern University Press (first published March 8th 2009)

From Univ. of Michigan Dept. of Slavic Languages site:  Michael Makin's research interests include Russian poetry and prose of the twentieth century, contemporary Russian culture, problems of Russian textuality, the "Russian style" in art and culture, and the life and culture of the Russian provinces.  Among his publications are the books Nikolai Klyuev: Time and Text, Place and Poet (Northwestern University Press, 2010) and Marina Tsvetaeva: Poetics of Appropriation (Oxford University Press, 1993; Russian translation – Marina Tsvetaeva: Poetika usvoeniya, 1997).   His current research includes work on: "phantom" and fragment texts in Russian literature (he is working on a book provisionally entitled Broken Russian); literary museums and literary tourism in Russia, Britain, and America (for a book to be entitled Is there a Writer in the House?); and Russian cultural stylization and national identity (for a book to be entitled As Russian as…).

Nikolai Kluev, Time and Text, Place and Poet
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