Portraits Without Frames

Selected Poems

Lev Ozerov

Published: 15 November 2018
Trade Paperback, Demy PB
135x216mm, 272 pages
ISBN: 9781783784714

Translated by Maria Bloshteyn, Robert Chandler, Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski


Lev Ozerov's finest book, Portraits Without Frames comprises fifty intimate, skillfully crafted accounts of meetings with important figures, ranging from fellow poets Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak, to prose writers Isaac Babel and Andrey Platonov, to artists and composers Vladimir Tatlin and Dmitry Shostakovich. It is both a testament to an extraordinary life and a perceptive mini-encyclopedia of Soviet culture. Composed in delicate, rhythmic free verse, Ozerov's portraits are like nothing else in Russian poetry.

About the author

Image of Lev Ozerov

Lev Ozerov (1914-1996), born Lev Goldberg, was a poet and literary critic of Jewish Ukrainian origin, and a prominent name in Soviet literature in his day. He is justly celebrated for his efforts to preserve the creative heritage of poets of his own generation who perished in the years of Stalinist repressions. More about the author


‘A most attractive book and an inspiring read... remarkable



‘A unique mini-encyclopaedia of Soviet culture’ Rebecca Taylor

‘Accessible [and] passionate... hugely appealing’

‘Attention. That word rings over and over through the poem-filled pages. This gentle attention is what makes the collection such a treasureAlisa Goz

‘Besides the enjoyment of reading the poems for their own sake, this book offers a valuable supplement to the frequently all too brief biographical details provided by the more conventional resources’

‘Ozerov's accessibly translated portraits are part vignette, part hagiography. Together, they form a poetic memoir, highlighting details that merge art and life...Ozerov's chatty, poetic tributes break many more rules. They dwell on physical appearance, elide ethnic difference, wax sentimental. Yet in doing so, they provide a formula for reading life as art...If literature cannot inspire this kind of empathy, what can?’ Amelia Glaser

‘We learn about Soviet history, as well as enjoying impressive translations of the biographical poems’ Peter Lawson

Mind Unit - websites, content management and email marketing for the arts