There will be no coffins. Our children will burn to ashes
In a mobile oven, and the smoke will swirl and waft
Over the fields of Ukraine where the black plume meshes
With the smoke of wildfire – up there, on the left.
Instead of the body, the doorbell will ring, a polite
Army captain will bring the ashes in a neat package
And place it silently on the bookshelf, right
By the photo of a brave soldier with demob patches,
Turned a contractnik. The captain will open his briefcase,
With a jerk of his head, as if something bothered
Him, he’ll fish out a paper, establish a base
On the stool, hold it out: sign here for non-disclosure.
She’ll sign. He’ll pick up his briefcase and hustle on
Past the TV with a crooning pop singer clown
And a bunk bed where on top the younger son,
A ninth-grade student leans over and stares down
At him as intensely as if waiting for a box of his own.
~ ~ ~
Гробов не будет. Наших детей сожгут
В походной печке, а дым развеют
Над украинским полем, и чёрный жгут
Сольётся с дымом пожара – вон там, левее.
Вместо тела вежливый капитан,
Позвонив в квартиру, доставит пепел
В аккуратном пакете и молча положит там,
Под фотографией, где залихватский дембель
Перерос в контракт. Расстегнув портфель,
Вынет бумагу и, дёрнув шеей,
Будто что-то мешает, усядется, как на мель,
На табурет: подпишите неразглашенье.
Она подпишет. И он поспешит назад
Мимо телека с Басковым недопетым
И двухъярусной койкой, где младший брат,
Девятиклассник, с него не спускает взгляд,
Свесившись – будто ждет своего пакета.
Tatiana Voltskaya is a Russian poet and a freelance correspondent for Radio Liberty in St. Petersburg. She was a laureate of the Pushkin scholarship (Germany, 1999), awards of the Zvezda magazine (2003), and the Interpoetry magazine (2016). Winner of the Voloshin competition (2018), the All-Russian poetry competition “The Lost Tram” (2019). In 2020, she became one of the winners of the competition announced by the composer Ilya Demutsky. She has been awarded the Pyotr Weil Free Russian Journalism. Voltskaya’s poems, as well as her reviews, were published in many Russian literary magazines; her work was translated into Swedish, Dutch, Finnish, Italian, English, and Lithuanian. She has authored eleven collections of poetry.
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.