in 'The Moscow and Voronezh Notebooks. Poems 1930-1937', Translated by Richard and Elizabeth McKane, introduced by Victor Krivulin, Bloodaxe Books, 2003 (1991)
* 1891, Warsaw, Poland, † 1938, Transit camp near Vladivostok, Eastern Siberia
Charge: Anti-Soviet Agitation
Prison: House Arrest, Voronezh, Russia (Map)
In November 1933 Mandelstam had composed "The Stalin Epigram", 'We are alive but no longer feel' (no. 20 in The Second Moscow Notebook). This, and his reading it to over a dozen people, was his death warrant and it was only a matter of time for Stalin to have him sent to certain death in the camps....
On 16th May 1937 his three year exile in Voronezh ended and the Mandelstams returned to Moscow. On 3rd May Osip Mandelstam was arrested again. Mandelstam was sentenced to five years in a labour camp. He died in a transit camp on the way to Vladivostok on 27th December 1938. The last poem attributed to him by a campmate, Merkulov, is dated 1938:
Black night, claustrophobic barracks,