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.
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!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.
Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.