Anna Halberstadt. From the Vilnius Diary

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Anna Halberstadt. From the Vilnius Diary
Fragment of a painting by Samuel Bak, who, as a child, survived the Holocaust in Lithuania.
Anna Halberstadt. From the Vilnius Diary

God, Gotteniu,

I had never been taught the formal language of prayers

I can only talk to you in the voice

of a scared rabbit hiding in the bush

with his stupid little tail sticking out

I can talk to you in the voice of mama raccoon

carrying her striped offspring one by one

by the skin of their necks

away from the two screaming women

who had discovered her nest

in their country house shed.

I can pray to you like a drying out tree

stretching naked branches at night

into the tangerine sky

like the tide lapping against the side

of the wooden pier

in the moonlit sea.

In the yellowed photo ten Jewish women

half-naked

clutching each other in anguish|

standing with their backs to the pit

ready to be shot

photographed by some unknown executioner

in Ponary

where were you then, God,

you bastard?

I wish I believed that people are good at heart

like the fifteen-year-old Anne Frank.

I am a little Soviet pioneer in a red tie

saluting you.

I do believe, though,

In the synergy of a beehive

complex harmony of behaviors of ants in an anthill

the divine architecture of beaver dams

before a mad hunter shoots the female

and the male begins madly swimming in circles

mourning his mate in the bloody pond.

About the Author:

Anna Halberstadt
Anna Halberstadt
New York, USA

Anna Halberstadt is a poet and a translator from Russian, Lithuanian and English, who grew up in Lithuania and was trained as a psychologist at Moscow University and in the U.S. Her poetry in English was widely published in English-language journals, and Russian, in Arion, Interpoezia, Children of Ra and many others. Her poetry was translated into Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and Tamil. She published four collections of poetry in English, and Transit and Gloomy Sun (in Russian).

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Anna Halberstadt
Bookshelf
by Victor Enyutin

A book of poems in Russian by Victor Enyutin (San Francisco, 1983). Victor  Enyutin is a Russian writer, poet, and sociologist who emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union in 1975.

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

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!

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

“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.

by Julia Wiener

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.

by Julia Wiener

Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.

by Nina Kossman

A collection of poems in Russian. Published by Khudozhestvennaya literatura. Moscow, 1990.

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