Poets of Ukraine. Oles Grig. Translated by Dmitri Manin. Illustrated by Nina Kossman

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Poets of Ukraine. Oles Grig. Translated by Dmitri Manin. Illustrated by Nina Kossman
Nina Kossman "Fleeing from Death"
Poets of Ukraine. Oles Grig. Translated by Dmitri Manin. Illustrated by Nina Kossman

Flee, Lola, flee! You cannot help your mother
or father, they’re dead, and your brother is too.
No more dragons, they all have been murdered.
This country’s deserted, save for him and you.

Come mount your dragon and let it take wing!
The sky is teeming with people of iron.
But it will take them a while to bring
their flighted horses to turn around.

Can’t you see the winged steeds are reeling
after a week of merciless fight?
They can barely move their wings of steel.
Into the gap in their ranks steer your flight!

A clearing opened, not for long and not wide,
in the mountain range between worlds – it’s your chance.
Your family’s there, on the other side –
Merciful Death gave them refuge for once.

* * *

Лола, беги! Ты ничем не поможешь
папе и маме, и брату – мертвы.
Нету драконов – убили их тоже.
В этой стране – только этот и ты.

Взлезь на дракона, взлетайте скорее!
В небе – армада железных людей.
Нужно ещё им какое-то время
для разворота воздушных коней.

Видишь, крылатые кони устали
после недели нещадных боев –
медленны взмахи их крыльев из стали.
Ну же, летите в открытый проем!

Горы, стоящие между мирами,
щель приоткрыли – и надо успеть.
Ваши родные – вон там, за горами,
из доброты приютила их Смерть.*

*По мотивам сказки Олеся Грига «Лола из Флории»

About the Author:

Oles Grig
Oles Grig
Kharkiv, Ukraine

Oles Grig (Oleg Fomin) was born on January 26, 1963, in Kharkiv. He graduated from the Kharkiv Pedagogical Institute named after Grigory Savvich Skovoroda (Philology Department). He began writing poems in 2016. Despite the obvious danger from the Russian bombardment, he does not leave his native city (Kharkiv, Ukraine).

About the Translator:

Dmitri Manin
Dmitri Manin
California, USA

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.

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Oles Grig Олесь Григ
Bookshelf
by Victor Enyutin

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.

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

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!

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

“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.

by Julia Wiener

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.

by Julia Wiener

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.

by Nina Kossman

A collection of poems in Russian. Published by Khudozhestvennaya literatura. Moscow, 1990.

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