Russian poet with strong Italian ties celebrated in Rome

ROME – The life and works of the poet Vjaceslav Ivanov are to be celebrated on Tuesday in an event coordinated by the ‘Pontificio Istituto Orientale’.

 The institute, based in Rome, has a special connection with Ivanov, as the Russian began teaching there in 1936. Ivanov had emigrated to Italy, via Azerbaijan, following the 1917 October Revolution, where he became a lecturer in Pavia, Milan.

 Having taken up the position in Rome, Pope Pius XI granted him a permanent position as a professor in 1938, which he held until his passing in 1949. During this time, he was involved in the production of Russian language commentaries of sacred scriptures, including the ‘Acts of the Apostles’.

 The event on Oct. 16 will celebrate this aspect of his work, as well as his own creative endeavours. A number of new editions of his poetry collections are being presented, complete with recent forewords and introductions. Perhaps Ivanov’s most famous collection, ‘A realibus ad realiora’, has been recently re-published, with the inclusion of an introduction from Marco Rupnik SJ.

 The poet’s translation of Michaelangelo’s seven sonnets is also a significant feather in the Russian’s bow. An artistic edition will be presented at the event, which includes illustrations, along with both the original Italian and the Russian versions placed side-by-side.

 The occasion presents an excellent opportunity to reflect on Ivanov’s contributions to Italian-Russian cultural links, as well as simply to appreciate the poet’s creative ability. pm