Alexander Aleksandrovich Blok

Poems in this Collection

I apprehend You. The years pass me by.../Предчувствую Тебя. Года проходят мимо...
A girl sang in the church choir.../Девушка пела в церковном хоре...
In taverns and winding side streets.../В кабаках, в переулках, в извивах...
To the Muse/Музе
In a Restaurant/В Ресторане
How difficult to walk among people /Как тяжело ходить среди людей
The Commanders Footsteps/Шаги Командора
O, I desperately want to live.../О, я хочу безумно жить...
I am riveted to the tavern counter.../Я пригвожден к трактирной стойке...
O, yes, love is free as a bird.../О да, любовь вольна, как птица...
Unknown Woman/Незнакомка
On Kulikovo Field/На поле Куликовом
All valor I forgot and noble deeds.../О доблестях, о подвигах, о славе
Night, street, lamp, drugstore.../Ночь, улица, фонарь, аптека
Those born in obscure years.../Рожденные в года глухие...

Timeline for A. A. Blok
























Born into gentry family, his father was a jurist, musician, and professor at Warsaw University, his mother A.A. Beketova was a writer. They separated early on in Blok's life and he spent much of his youth with his maternal grandparents

His mother remarries and he moves to Petersburg

Graduates from Gymnasium, enters Petersburg University Law School, but transfers to Historical-Philological Division three years after

Marries L.D. Mendeleeva, daughter of Mendeleev, the famous scientist and joins circle of Symbolists such as Bely and Solovyov. First verses are published in The New Way, edited by Hippius and Merezhkovsky. His earliest poems are influenced by Zhukovsky and Fet, as well as by the German romantics

Publishes first book, Verses on a Beautiful Lady (see left), which was very well received in Symbolist circles. In these verses he explores eschatological beliefs and the cult of Sophia. His motifs, distance, dawn, sundown, azure, bizarre or mysterious encounters, are all connected to his themes of utopia and universal catastrophe

Graduates from university; Writes and stages The Puppet Show , which contributes to his growing fame

Publishes second book, Inadvertent Joy, and he becomes a man of letters; publishes Land in Snow - both collections show his transition from mysticism to spiritual crisis and passion as he even parodies his earlier devotion to the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov (read Soloviev's poetry). The theme of the "Unknown Woman" becomes more prevalent, as do his gritty presentation of urban life; Publishes the cycle Free Thoughts, an oddly realistic blank verse collection

Publishes Lyric Dramas; Stages The Unknown Woman

Journeys to Italy, inspiring "Italian Verses" and the essays cycle Lightning Flashes of Art; father dies, and he travels to Warsaw, inspiring the verse epic Retribution which contains the poem "The Commander's Steps"

Publishes Nocturnal Hours

Three-volume collection of his work appears

Writes the play Rose and the Cross

Publishes the verse epic Garden of Nightingales

Writes and edits collection by Grigoriev; drafted into military and was stationed near Pskov

Writes essay Intelligentsia and Revolution in support of new government; writes "The Twelve" (see right) a verse epic created in response to the Revolution. The poem is polyphonic with abruptly shifting rhythms, and uses the language of the city, of romance, and of sloganeering. The twelve Red Army soldiers represent the twelve apostles, and the poem contains twelve sections; Also writes "The Scythians," in which he explores Slavophile issues and compares the place of Russia on the cusp between Europe and Asia.

Elected head of Petrograd's All-Russian Union of Poets

Writes "To Pushkin House" and "On the Poet's Calling," in which he celebrates the "secret freedom" of art in the face of banality and officialdom

Dies, possibly of venereal disease, as his mental health had deteriorated, as had his physical health and living conditions. He dies profoundly disappointed, nearly apathetic, at the shape of the Revolution


















Links to other Blok sites

A discussion of Blok's Puppet Show with images (from Early Twentieth Century Russian Drama) (English)
Visit Blok's house in St. Petersburg (Russian)
The Blok page at "Friends and Partners" (brief biography and 12 poems) (English/Russian)
Русская классическая поэзия (Russian) ( (Russian)
Стихия: Лучшая поэзия (Russian)
Blok entry from (English)
A large collection of Blok's poetry from the 8-volume PSS Russian)
A few poems from Verses to a Beautiful Lady translated by Lynn Harvey & Aya Makarova (English)
Translation of Blok's review of the Russian publication of E. A. Poe's Collected Works of Edgar Poe (English)
More translations of Blok's work by Evgeny Bonver (English)
Excerpts from entry on Blok in V. Terras' Handbook of Russian Literature (English)


FAQ and Site Map Last update: 7/1/2001