Russian poetry: Study Guide

Alexander Pushkin

"I remember the wonderful moment"

  1. What three stages in the relationship between the poet and his lover are described in this poem?
  2. How did the poet feel in the absence of the beloved?
  3. List the things that we know about the beloved.
  4. Do you think the poem is about the beloved, or about the lover/poet?
"The Prophet"
  1. Many Romantic poets felt that they were like prophets; they claimed to have accute sences that were beyond the reach of the common person. Describe the imagery that the poet uses to indicate this ability.
  2. How else is the poet like a prophet?
  3. What do you think the image of the "fiery heart" represents? What does it mean to have a fiery heart?
  4. Translate into common language the angel's command to the poet in the last four lines.
"I loved you once:"
  1. This lyric poem describes the poet's mood after a breakup. How does he describe his love for the beloved? What is his mood?
  2. What is the poet's wish for the beloved?
  3. How common do you think is the poet's response in the last two lines? Is this something one normally wishes for the beloved?
Fyodor Tyutchev

  1. In this poem the poet seems to feel that thoughts and feelings are things that are impossible to share with others. Do you agree?
  2. What do you think is the difference between "telling" someone your feelings and "sharing" your feelings with someone?
  3. What is the reason, according to the poet, that it's impossible to to share one's feelings?
  4. Why is it not good to share them, anyway?
  5. What do you agree with, and disagree with, in this poem?
Mikhail Lermontov

"I am weary and sad..."
  1. List what makes the poet lonely and sad.
  2. The poet says that it's impossible to love forever. This is typical view of love for the Romantic poet. Why do you think it's impossibe?
  3. The last two lines are typicsl lines spoken by a suicidal person, a good candidate for Prozac. What do you think is a good medicine for this poet?
"Alone, I come out on the road"
  1. Heine is one of the poets that had great influence on Lermontov. What similarities do you find between this poem an any of Heine's poems?
  2. What is the poet's attitude toward death.
  3. Why do you think that many Romantic poets glorified death? What was so appealing to them about death?