A bust of Alexander Pushkin

Russian MiniLessons: Литература – Literature (Part III – Poetry)

Published: January 18, 2019

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation.

Part 3: Poetry

Аллитерация is repeating the same or similar sounds, usually at the beginning or in the middle of multiple words. Alliteration is used largely in поэзия, пословицы, поговорки , and скороговорки.

For example:

Выходила к ним горилла,
Им горилла говорила
Говорила им горилла,

(A gorilla went to them,
The gorilla told them,
The gorilla told them,
– K. Chukovsky, Barmalei

When analyzing поэзия, there are a few other things to consider in addition to литературные приёмы, for instance, there are various стихотворные размеры that a поэт can use: односложный, двусложный, трехсложный, пятисложный. Here are some of the самые распространенные meters:

1. Хорей: a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one:

Буря мглою небо кроет
Вихри снежные крутя

– A. Pushkin


2. Ямб: the opposite of a хорей, this consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable:

Мой дядя самых честных правил,
Когда не в шутку занемог,
Он уважать себя заставил
И лучше выдумать не мог.

– A. Pushkin


3. Анапест: two short syllables followed by a long one:

О, весна без конца и без краю –
Без конца и без краю мечта!
Узнаю тебя, жизнь! Принимаю!
И приветствую звоном щита!

– A. Blok


4. Амфибра́хий: a long syllable between two short syllables:

Не вeтер бушует над бором,
Не с гор побежали ручьи
Мороз-воевода дозором
Обходит владенья свои.

– N. Nekrasov

About the author

Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life, Worldpress.org, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an PhD from West Virginia University in Political Science. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource.

Program attended: All Programs

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