P-Pushkin Real Good: A Bawdy Poem from the Czar of Russian Lit

Last week, we gave you a taste of Pushkin the Romantic’s more romantic side. This week, we’re giving you a peak at his more playful side. (Stay tuned for a look at his truly trashy stuff, coming soon.) The following is Pushkin’s early-1800s “Advancing from the Rear”, translated by A.Z. Foreman from his blog Poems Found in Translation. He’s got  some great insight into Pushkin’s habit of contrasting posh Classical references with gutter words, as well as some historical dirt (apparently Pushkin, jealous of another man’s sexual conquest, took a swipe at said fellow’s endowment…or lack thereof).


Advancing from the Rear

Beside Istómina the dancer,
Lay naked general Orlóv.
When things got hot, this man in action
Was not much to take notice of.
Meaning no insult, that hetaera
Got out her magnifying glass
And said “Er, love…I’d really like to
See what you use to fuck my ass.”

Like your 19th century poetry a little sultrier?
Try “The Ghost” by Baudelaire!