Homage to Chekhov

Brodsky, Joseph

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Dec-16-1996


This is a generous and good-natured pastiche of a narrative poem evoking a "typical" Chekhov story and crowded with many of Chekhov's favorite images, settings, and situations. It begins: "Sunset clings to the samovar, abandoning the veranda, / but the tea has gone cold, or is finished . . . . " In the country house, Varvara Andreevna, Maximov, Dunia, Erlich, Kartahov, and Prigozhin (the doctor) carry on their ordinary business in the "oppressive midsummer twilight . . . . " Does Varvara Andreevna love the doctor? Does Erlich love Natalia Fiodorovna? Is anything going to happen? The poem ends: "In the provinces, too, nobody's getting laid, / as throughout the galaxy."


An affectionate satire that might be entitled "the essence of Chekhov" or "pulling Chekov's leg." Also, an extremely well-structured six stanza, 48-line, poem (written in English) by one of the great Russian poets of the 20th century.

Primary Source

So Forth


Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Place Published

New York