Essay: Poetry and Politics

Land of the unwashed, goodbye! Land of the masters, land of knaves! You, in neat blue uniforms! You who live like cringing slaves! In my exile I may find Peace beneath Caucasian skies, -- Far from sla

-- MIKHAIL LERMONTOV

It seemed odd, on first hearing of it, that Nicholas Daniloff would quote lines of poetry to mark his release from Soviet imprisonment. Here was an incident that filled the news for a month, that brought the world's two titans into open confrontation, that in the end, perhaps, prodded them to agree on the presummit summit. Yet to cap off those momentous political events, Daniloff, the center of the storm, reached back into art for a poem by Mikhail Lermontov written almost 150 years ago for another world and circumstance. Grant that it was more diplomatic of Daniloff...

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