When poet Edward Sanders, founder of New York’s famous Peace Eye Book Store as well as of the 60’s folk-rock group The Fugs, undertook to write a drama based on the life of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, he started with a poem. Hoping that a poem would engender dialogue and chorus refrains, Sanders’ finished product was. . . a poem. Delving into the life of the classic Russian author, Sanders was so taken with his subject that he realized “a verse biography of Chekhov could extend to five or ten thousand pages” and his poem (really a series of short poems about the short life and revolutionary times of the author of “The Seagull”) grew and grew.
While Chekhov is slightly shorter than those five to ten thousand pages, it does contain “surprisingly detailed information about the social, political, and intellectual phenomena of Chekhov’s Russia” (Booklist) and is written in verse that would do Pushkin proud. A must for any student of Chekhov, Russia or, for that matter, literature.
Succeeds brilliantly in telling Chekhov’s complex, fascinating life story.