We unlocked the house, the wing. Into the earthen jug
stuffed the rustle of reeds. Hastily ground some coffee.
We gave the animals names: Three Fat Men was the slug,
The spider was Samson, and the spotted frog, Sophie.
We went to the beach. We surveyed the market, where
we recognized the diluted alcohol as Tartar chacha,
an earthworm in a puddle as a twig of pear,
and the сhurchkhela seller as chief of the Apaches.
Complementing their meanings, but preserving their rights,
we gave each creature a twin, incarnate in a word
of the newcomers’ newspeak that turns everything into lies.
And we plunged into sleep. How we slept, Good Lord!
Our dreams smelled of sheepskin and wool and milk,
glowed chicory blue on the outline of the hill.
We lay face up, then face down, deaf under the spell.
The levant blew. Crabs foraged on the sea floor.
We slept through mutiny, famine, infamy, war,
flooding in Yalta and drought in Koktebel,
and over the valley where the orphaned village wound,
a triumph of time and reallotment of space.
And we woke up where there was nothing around,
with that nothing’s name irrevocably erased.
* * *
Дом открыли, флигель. Шорохи тростника
запихнули в глечик. Кофе, спеша, смололи.
Даровали слизню имя — Три Толстяка,
пауку — Самсон, пятнистой лягушке — Молли.
Навестили пляж. Базар обозрели, где
разведённый спирт назвали татарской чачей,
черенком листа — червя в дождевой воде,
продавца чурчхелы — дерзким вождём апачей.
Дополняя смыслом, но не лишая прав,
всяку тварь живую мы воплотили в паре
с новоязом пришлых, сущее переврав.
И уснули, рухнув. Господи, как мы спали!
Ничего не слыша. Навзничь, потом ничком.
Сны овечьей шкурой пахли и молоком,
по краям холмов цикорием голубели.
Дул левант. Клешнями крабы скребли по дну.
Мы проспали голод, смуту, позор, войну,
наводненье в Ялте, засуху в Коктебеле,
передел пространства, времени торжество
над селом сиротским, что по ущелью вьется.
И проснулись там, где не было ничего.
И забыли напрочь, как «ничего» зовётся.
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.
Every character in these twenty-two interlinked stories is an immigrant from a place real or imaginary. (Magic realism/immigrant fiction.)
In this collection, Andrey Kneller has woven together his own poems with his translations of one of the most recognized and celebrated contemporary Russian poets, Vera Pavlova.
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.