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13 Responses

  1. Jeremiah Johnson

    Evan, I remember enjoying the irony of this poem back when you first posted it and sharing it with some of my students at the university where I teach. It reminded me of classic incidents from Russian literature and history. Not to mention the way that the tides of favor have turned so quickly in affairs of state and politics throughout history.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    It was said as long ago as the time of the French Revolution, and has been infallibly true:

    “The Revolution, like Saturn, eats its own children.”

  3. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Great poem with perfect insight! The Siberian Gulags transliterated Glavnoye Upravleniy, LAGerey (Chief or Main Adminisgtration of Lagers or Camps) were grim primitive facilities on the tundra where political opponents, identified as anyone saying anything, or reputed to have said anything against the communist state, party, or elites was sent. When Gorbachev opened at least some of the books, it substantiated the estimates that more than 10 million died in those slave labor camps established under Stalin. When Russia opened up, I was the first US Foreign Commercial Officer at the Consulate in Vladivostok in 1993. Our territory essentially was Siberia and related regions the size of the continental US. I was able to travel to Magadan, among other places formerly off limits to Americans. Magadan was the most feared and frigid outpost of the Soviet Gulag system located on the Sea of Okhotsk. Temperatures often reached -50 degrees in winter. Pardon me, but I thought I would provide some insight for those not acquainted with the Gulags.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    This is wonderful! These superb readings elevate superb poems to greater heights! Thank you!

  5. ABB

    Thanks for appreciative comments, all. I chose this poem not because it’s necessarily Evan’s best, but to promote the contents of the latest journal…but then when I recorded it I forgot to promote the journal at the end! Also neglected to add a bit of context about Lazar Kaganovich–he actually lived to be almost 100, and while he fell out of favor after Stalin’s death I don’t think he did a stint in the Gulags (though other officials ended up there–could almost substitute any name).
    A bit infuriating that Kaganovich spent a significant proportion of his waking hours signing death warrants, had tens of thousands executed, caused a horrible famine by implementing an idiotic collective agriculture policy, but himself lived until just a few months before the Soviet Union fell. Men like him are what Hell is for.


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