Остаться бы вовне процесса
Покуда жив, быть не у дел:
Не ищешь поводов для стресса,
Но в ночь выводят на расстрел.
И все, что прожито – не важно,
Уже конечно, черт возьми,
Лишь потому, что ты однажды
Жил здесь и с этими людьми.
И есть ли тот, кто растолкует,
В какой написано из книг –
Зачем летит навстречу пуле
Не мой невыносимый крик?
* * *
Were it possible to remain outside the process,
As long as one may live, to stay uninvolved.
Eschewing causes that may prove stressful,
But still at night they lead you to the execution spot.
And all that had been lived no longer matters,
This moment, everything is bull and crap.
All this because that once-upon-a-time when
You were their neighbor, compatriot, son.
What sage could decode the answer and
Which tome and volume contain the reason
Why the moment the bullet hurtles towards me
This unbearable scream cannot be mine?
Translated from Russian by Alexander Cigale
Gennady Katsov is a poet, essayist and journalist. In 1989 he moved to the US, where he has been working as a journalist for the last 32 years. His poems and essays have been published in leading literary magazines in the USA, Europe, Russia, including the magazines Znamya, Druzhba Narodov, Volga, UFO, Zvezda, Neva, Novy Zhurnal and others; in English – in Cimarron Review, Blue Lyra Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Verse Junkies, Painters and Poets, Life and Legends, etc. Author of ten books of poetry, including a collection of poems, prose and essays “The Attraction of Zen” (St. Petersburg: Petropol, 1999), the ekphrastic volume “Slovosphere” (New York: Liberty, 2013) and the poetry book “On the Western Front. Poems About the War of 2020” (M: Formaslov, 2021). Gennady is a member of the editorial board of the almanac “Времена” (USA) and the magazine “Emigrantskaya Lyrа” (Belgium).
Alex Cigale’s own English-language poems appear widely, including in the Colorado Review, The Common, and The Literary Review. His translations of Russian Silver Age and Contemporary prose and poetry have appeared in the Harvard Review Online, Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, The Hopkins Review, Michigan Quarterly, Modern Poetry in Translation, PEN America, TriQuarterly, and World Literature Today. From 2011-2013, he was an Assistant Profesor at the American University of Central Asia. A 2015 NEA Literary Translation Fellow for his work on Mikhail Eremin, he also edited the Spring 2015 Russia Issue of Atlanta Review. His first full book, Russian Absurd: Daniil Kharms, Selected Writings came out in the Northwestern University Press World Classics series.
These English poems by Gari have the same energy and elegance as his Russian poems, and they are enriched by his multilayered, polyphonic use of the English language to express thoughts and feelings with sophistication and humor.
This new edition by Shearsman Press (UK) contains translations of Marina Tsvetaeva’s narrative poems (поэмы). They can be seen as markers of various stages in her poetic development, ranging from the early, folk-accented On a Red Steed to the lyrical-confessional Poem of the Mountain and Poem of the End to the more metaphysical later poems, An Attempt at a Room, Poem of the Mountain, a beautiful requiem for Rainer Maria Rilke, New Year’s Greetings, and Poem of the Air, a stirring celebration of Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight and the quest for the soul’s freedom. These translations were first published by Ardis in 1998 and reprinted by Overlook in 2004 and 2009. The current edtion was published by Shearsman Press (UK) in 2021.