Don’t beg of the king, don’t believe your kin,
they’ll squeal in a whiff,
that’s the way your fair land has always been:
every fifth man a thief.
Which one will rob you, what kind of scum –
what the hell do you care?
Live like a bum, feed the sparrows bread crumbs
on the bench in the square.
Be careful broadcasting someone else’s words,
be it a prankster or hypester,
because in this kindly country of yours
every third man’s a sniper.
Like a little spider he skirts the roof flirting
with the heat of July,
so the bullet would meet in a kiss the furtive
pupil of your eye.
And while you drink wine, scratch the void of your brow,
a golden bullet is darting around
like a busy bee.
Lie low like grass, like spit on the floor,
like a stain on the rag,
because in this peaceful country of yours
everyone’s in the gulag,
wiretaps in lapels, microchips in the napes,
the headlines are deadly,
and the kapo on a roadside billboard waves
to you, smiling gently.
Не проси у власти, не верь родне:
сват продаст и шурин,
потому что в честной твоей стране
каждый пятый – шулер.
Кто из них твои отберет гроши,
Будь, как бомж: сухарь воробьям кроши,
на скамейке сидя.
Стерегись вещать на чужой волне,
пранкер или хайпер,
потому что в доброй твоей стране
каждый третий – снайпер.
Он по крыше катится паучком
сквозь жару июля,
чтоб совпала с беглым твоим зрачком
в поцелуе пуля.
И пока скребешь пустоту чела,
пьешь вино, болтая,
над тобою носится, как пчела,
Затаись плевком, пузырьком на дне,
следом на газоне,
потому что в тихой твоей стране
каждый первый – в зоне,
где в затылках – чипы, “жучки” – в кашпо,
и с билбордов машут тебе капо,
Irina Evsa (born 1956) is a Ukrainian poet who writes in Russian. Before the war–until Russia’s attack on Ukraine– she lived in Kharkiv; at the beginning of March 2022, she moved to Germany. She is the author of nineteen books of poems and numerous publications in magazines and newspapers. Her poems have been translated into English, Ukrainian, Serbian, Lithuanian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Georgian. She is a laureate of numerous poetry prizes, including the Russian Prize (2016), Voloshin Prize (2016), the prize of the Kyiv Lavry Poetry Festival (2018), and The Moscow Account prize.
Dmitri Manin is a physicist, programmer, and translator of poetry. His translations from English and French into Russian have appeared in several book collections. His latest work is a complete translation of Ted Hughes’ “Crow” (Jaromír Hladík Press, 2020) and Allen Ginsberg’s “The Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems” (Podpisnie Izdaniya, 2021). Dmitri’s Russian-to-English translations have been published in journals (Cardinal Points, Delos, The Café Review, Metamorphoses etc) and in Maria Stepanova’s “The Voice Over” (CUP, 2021). In 2017, his translation of a poem by Stepanova won the Compass Award competition.
This collection, compiled, translated, and edited by poet and scholar Ian Probstein, provides Anglophone audiences with a powerful selection of Mandelstam’s most beloved and haunting poems.
Four teenagers grow inseparable in the last days of the Soviet Union—but not all of them will live to see the new world arrive in this powerful debut novel, loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
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.
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!