Under the Northern Sky (poetry collection)

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Under the Northern Sky (Russian: Под се′верным не′бом, romanizedPod severnym nebom) is a collection of poetry by Konstantin Balmont featuring 51 poems, first published in the early 1894 in Saint Petersburg.[1] Formally Balmont's second book, it is considered to be his debut, since all the copies of the Yaroslavl-released Collection of Poems (Сборник стихотворений, 1890) have been purchased and destroyed by the author.[2][3]

Under the Northern Sky
Pod Severnym Nebom.jpg
AuthorKonstantin Balmont
Original titleПод северным небом
CountryRussian Empire
GenreRussian Symbolism
Publication date
Media typeprint (Hardback & Paperback)
Followed byIn Boundlessness 


In December 1893 Balmont informed his friend, Nikolai Minsky in a letter: "Wrote the whole lot of the new poems and in January am going to start the process of publishing a book. Expect some chastising from my liberal friends, for there is no liberalism in them, with the 'degrading' motives aplenty."[4]

The collection's general mood was captured in an epigraph, from the Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau: "All the divine things enter my life invariably accompanied by sorrow." The Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary later described the book as full of "greyness, hopelessness and gloom." Yet, Balmont's misgivings proved groundless: the reaction to the publication was positive.[2][3] Critics liked the musical quality of his poetry, exquisiteness of form and the sense of tension which enlivened the general atmosphere of gloom.[5]

Notable poemsEdit

  • "Choln tomlenya" (Чёлн томленья, Boat of Longing). Dedicated to Prince Alexander Ivanovich Urusov, a lawyer and philanthropist who supported and encouraged Balmont. "Urusov helped my soul to break the chains, to recognize my own self," wrote Balmont later in the Mountain Peaks.[1] The poem became famous but drew mixed response. Zinaida Gippius considered it the epitom of vacuous pretentiousness, and once famously ridiculed its most 'sonorous' line: "chuzhdy charam chorny choln" ("charms-defying black boat").
  • "Fantazia" (Фантазия). One of the first poems by Balmont, first published in Severny Vestnik in October 1893, soon after the author met Merezhkovsky and Minsky for the first time.
  • "Lunny svet" (Лунный свет, Moonlight). This sonnet's rhythm and structure were lavishly praised by Ellis, one of Russian Symbolism's theoreticians, in his book Russian Symbolists.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Commentaries // Бальмонт К. Д. Избранное". www.prosv.ru. Archived from the original on 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
  2. ^ a b Makogonenko, Darya. The Life and Fate. Freface to The Selected Poems, Translations and Essays by K.D. Balmont. Pravda Publishers. 1990. // Д. Г. Макогоненко. — Жизнь и судьба. Бальмонт К. — Избранное: Стихотворения. Переводы. Статьи. — М. Правда, 1990. — ISBN 5-253-00115-8
  3. ^ a b Vengerov, Semyon. "Konstantin Dmitriyevich Balmont". Brockhaus and Efron / Russian Biographical Dictionary. Archived from the original on August 18, 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
  4. ^ Preface to the Poems by K.D. Balmont. Leningrad, 1969, p. 23.
  5. ^ Stakhova, M. "Konstantin Balmont. The Lives of the Silver Age Poets // Константин Бальмонт (Судьбы поэтов серебряного века)". www.litera.ru. Archived from the original on 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2010-06-01.