The Prison Poems of Nikolai Bukharin

Nikolai Bukharin

Translated by George Shriver


5 x 8 inches, 572pp. February 2010

ISBN : 9781906497163

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Nikolai Bukharin (1888–1938), an original Bolshevik leader and a founder of the Soviet state, spent the last year of his life imprisoned by Stalin, awaiting trial and eventual execution. Remarkably, during that time, from March 1937 to March 1938, Bukharin wrote four booklength manuscripts by hand in his prison cell. Seventy years later, The Prison Poems is the last of these four manuscripts—which include How It All Began: The Prison Novel and Socialism and Its Culture—to be published, allowing readers to grasp Bukharin’s vision in its full extent.


Bukharin organized the nearly 180 poems in this volume, written from June to November 1937, into several series. Two series of poems—one dealing with forerunners to the 1917 Russian Revolution and another focusing on the Russian Civil War—address topics not found in the other prison manuscripts. The same is true of the 'Lyrical Intermezzo' poems for and about Anna Larina, his young wife, from whom he was separated by his imprisonment.


This first English translation of Bukharin’s Prison Poems is a compelling read, evidencing the powerful intersection of politics and art. 

Nikolai Bukharin (1888-1938) was a Bolshevik intellectual and revolutionary, as well as the author of more than a hundred articles and books. Executed as a 'counter-revolutionary', he was exonerated fifty years later by Mikhail Gorbachev.


George Shriver has translated and edited Roy Medvedev’s On Soviet Dissent, The October Revolution, and Let History Judge. He is also the translator of Bukharin’s How It All Began: The Prison Novel and Socialism and Its Culture.

Culture Studies