Three Translations of Irina Mashinski’s “Simpler Times”

Also in Translations:

Three Translations of Irina Mashinski's "Simpler Times"
Three Translations of Irina Mashinski's "Simpler Times"

Пришли простые времена,
а мы еще витиеваты.
Раскрой глаза, идет война,
растерянно идут солдаты.

Three English versions (February-March 2022)

In 2000, it seemed to me that everything suddenly became b/w, very clear. I titled my book (with a b/w cover): SIMPLER TIMES.

In 2022, Robert Chandler and Maria Bloshteyn created two different English versions of this poem, and I added one more. I borrowed the second line from Robert Chandler’s translation.

It’s back to abc’s once more,
yet we still parse and gloss.
Open your eyes: we are at war—
the soldiers slog on, lost.

Translated by Maria Bloshteyn
~ ~ ~
It’s simpler now. Just life or death.
No time for metaphor.
The face of war. Bewildered youths
who don’t know what they’re fighting for.

Translated by Robert Chandler
~ ~ ~
Simpler times arrived. No use,
no time for metaphor.
It’s black and white. A war that lasts,
the soldiers trudge on, lost.
Translated by the author

About the Author:

Irina Mashinski photo by Golitsyna
photo by Golitsyna
Irina Mashinski
Pennsylvania, USA

Irina Mashinski is the author The Naked World and Giornata and of eleven books of poetry and essays in Russian. She is co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk, of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (2015) Her poetry has been translated into several languages and has appeared in Poetry International, World Literature Today, and elsewhere.

Irene Mashinski Ирина Машинская
by Ilya Perelmuter (editor)

Launched in 2012, “Four Centuries” is an international electronic magazine of Russian poetry in translation.

by Ilya Ehrenburg

Ilya Ehrenburg (1891–1967) was one of the most prolific Russian writers of the twentieth century.  Babi Yar and Other Poems, translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya, is a representative selection of Ehrenburg’s poetry, available in English for the first time.

by William Conelly

Young readers will love this delightful work of children’s verse by poet William Conelly, accompanied by Nadia Kossman’s imaginative, evocative illustrations.

by Maria Galina

A book of poems by Maria Galina, put together and completed exactly one day before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is Galina’s seventh book of poems. With translations by Anna Halberstadt and Ainsley Morse.

book cover galina 700x500 431792346_806631041304850_1823687868413913719_n
by Aleksandr Kabanov

The first bilingual (Russian-English) collection of poems by Aleksandr Kabanov, one of Ukraine’s major poets, “Elements for God” includes poems that predicted – and now chronicle – Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

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)

Three Questions. A Documentary by Vita Shtivelman
Play Video
Poetry Reading in Honor of Brodsky’s 81st Birthday
Length: 1:35:40