Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)

Also in Poetry:

Roytburd-Aleksandr-Bez-nazvanyya-21-h-295-b.-sm.-tehn.-1986
Alexander Roitburd. From the cycle "Grigoryi Skovoroda" (mixed media, 1986)
Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)

A rabbi in heaven sits on a golden throne.

On his left shoulder sits Moses, on his right shoulder, Aaron,

they whisper wisdom in his ears from both sides,

this is the oral Torah, the unbreakable law.
 

A kosher fish swims in a river of honey.

A cloud of milk grazes in a cloud of meat in the distance.

No one dares to boil a baby goat again in the milk

of a hussy goat bought for pennies at a town fair.

 

It was a good fair, and the town was not bad at all,

and its goat was a good, milking floozy,

and its synagogue was wide and east-facing,

and its mustachioed policeman sported a whistle in his crooked teeth.

 

Now they are all here, in the sky, where the challah is laid out on the table,

and yet I wonder about what’s left down there on earth,

how are the neighbors’ children, are they well off and warm,

do they still find gold crowns in the ashes.

 

If they do, they probably believe they are lucky!

A girl leans on her paddle in a park where the cemetery used to be.

In a synagogue, there’s a dance club or maybe a church—Christ is Risen.

Pity that from your heaven you cannot see these details.
 

About the Author:

Boris Khersonsky
Boris Khersonsky
Odessa, Ukraine

Boris Khersonsky was born in Chernivtsi in 1950. Khersonsky has published over nineteen collections of poetry and essays in Russian, and most recently, in Ukrainian. A book of his poems in English translations, The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems, was published by Lost Horse Press in 2022. He is widely regarded as one of Ukraine’s most prominent Russian-language poets.

About the Translator:

Nina-old-profile-from-Zoom
Nina Kossman
New York, USA

Nina Kossman’s nine books include three books of poems, two books of short stories, an anthology she edited for Oxford University Press, and a novel. Her work has been translated from English into French, Spanish, Greek, Japanese, Hebrew, Persian, Chinese, Russian, Italian, Danish, and Dutch. Her Russian work was published in Russian periodicals in and outside of Russia. She is a recipient of an NEA fellowship, UNESCO/PEN Short Story award, grants from the Onassis Foundation, the Foundation for Hellenic Culture, etc. Her website is https://ninakossman.com/.

Boris Khersonsky Борис Херсонский
Bookshelf
by Yulia Fridman

A book of poems by Yulia Fridman.

“I have been reading Yulia Fridman’s poems for a long time and have admired them for a long time.” (Vladimir Bogomyakov, poet)

by Nikolai Zabolotsky

A collection of early poems by Zabolotsky, translated into English by Dmitri Manin. “Dmitri Manin’s translations retain the freshness of Zabolotsky’s vision.” – Boris Dralyuk

by Art Beck

A collection of essays and reviews by Art Beck. “These pieces are selected from a steady series of essays and reviews I found myself publishing in the late aughts of the still early century.”

by Alexis Levitin

In this collection of 34 short stories, author Alexis Levitin, travel set in hand, takes the reader on a journey across several continents – and even into space – exploring the joys of chess and its effect on the lives of those who play.

by Aleksandr Kabanov

A book of wartime poems by Alexandr Kabanov, one of Ukraine’s major poets, fighting for the independence of his country by means of words and rhymes.

by Mark Budman

Every character in these twenty-two interlinked stories is an immigrant from a place real or imaginary. (Magic realism/immigrant fiction.)

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