Imitations and Versions of Russian Poetry: The Record of an Experiment
In 1969 I was living in England with my family and made a brief visit back to Australia to complete a study of the work of the Australian painter Ray Crooke. I returned to England via Moscow where Australian friends had invited me to stay with them, an opportunity not to be missed. On my last day there Yevgeny Yevtushenko was asked to lunch. He came at 12.30 and left at 9 p.m. Everything about that day (and fully described it makes a long story) was strange and exciting. To begin with it was March and the streets were still snow-covered and all the time I was conscious of the extraordinary quality of the light—there was a translucent but perceptible whiteness in the air even indoors, and when the sun shone weakly, as it did, there were blue shadows. Additionally, the room in which we met was of such dimensions that a three-storey house could have been built under the ceiling. Yevtushenko seemed larger than life even so.
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