Osip Mandelstam

Osip Emilevich Mandelstam;Osip Mandelshtam;Osip Mandel'shtam

1891 (Warsaw) – 1938 (near Vladivostock, Russia)

Mandelstam’s close friends Gumilyov and Akhmatova formed a modernist movement with him (Akhmatova slipped him a boiled egg when the secret police arrested him). He met Ehrenburg in Kiev, heckled Mayakovsky (despite his reserve), and astonished Blok by the transformation in his face when he recited his poetry. Tsvetaeva had an affair with him, and wrote poems celebrating it; opinionated about other people’s poetry, he discounted hers, acknowledged Pasternak’s (who, later, interceded unsuccessfully to save his life), and admired Akhmatova’s. The courageous survivor Nadezhda Mandelstam was his widow.