Michael Kossman was a poet, prose writer, translator of poetry from English and German, and literary critic. He was born in Moscow, where he graduated from high school and began his university studies. He emigrated from the USSR in 1972. He spent one year in Israel, where he studied at the University of Haifa. In 1973 he arrived in the US, first settling in Cleveland where his father had a college teaching job, then in New York. He graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in Russian literature. He wrote amazing poems and short stories but was indifferent to publication and refused to publish his work. Unfortunately, most of his best poems were lost, as he did not care to keep them in an organized way. He translated poems by W.B. Yeats (from English) and Hermann Hesse (from German) into Russian. He authored studies on Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita” and on Zamyatin’s unfinished novel “The Scourge of God”. He was not only a unique poet and short story writer, but also a thinker, and his thinking often verged on the prophetic. He saw life and death so clearly, that in some of his poems written many years ago, he predicted his own death. He passed away on the same night and at the same time as his father, Jan. 22, 2010. After his passing, his sister found an envelope with a few of his poems and arranged for their publication.
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.