Ugly Duckling Presse

Less Than a Meter
Less Than a Meter

Mikhail Aizenberg

translated by J. Kates

Poetry $5
Out of Print"There is an obvious limit to disturbed or uneasy voices: there is no road past them."

The contents of Less Than a Meter are included in the full-length book, Say Thank You, available from Zephyr Press.

Eastern European Poets Series #8.


Excerpt ˇ


There is an obvious limit to disturbed
or uneasy voices: there is no road past them.
The frontal bone, hostage to its thought,
the fabric of bone knows a direct answer.

Close ˆ

About the Author

Mikhail Aizenberg is a poet and essayist born in 1948. He graduated from the Moscow Architecture Institute and worked as an architect and restorer. None of his works were published during the Soviet period. In post-Soviet Russia he has published five books of poetry and two books of essays on contemporary Russian poetry. Aizenberg taught at School for Contemporary Art (subdivision of Russian State University for the Humanities). He also oversaw the O.G.I.F. poetry book series - one of the main projects of poetry publishing during 1990-2000. He has received the Andrey Bely Prize (2003) and the literary prizes of "Znamya" and "Strelets" magazines. The austere poetic means of Aizenberg's verse (following the style of Vladislav Khodasevich) echoes a stoic lyric temperament in the face of the restrictive cultural environment of the late Soviet period. Aizenberg's articles on the key figures of Russian poetry in the second half of the Twentieth Century (Joseph Brodsky, Vsevolod Nekrasov, and Evgeniy Haritonov) are remarkable for the precision of their analysis and the breadth of their cultural understanding.

About the Translator

J. Kates is a poet, literary translator and the president and co-director of Zephyr Press, a non-profit press that focuses on contemporary works in translation from Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry in 1984 and a Translation Project Fellowship in 2006, as well as an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts in 1995. He has published three chapbooks of his own poems: Mappemonde (Oyster River Press), Metes and Bounds (Accents Publishing), and The Old Testament (Cold Hub Press). He is the translator of The Score of the Game and An Offshoot of Sense by Tatiana Shcherbina; Say Thank You and Level with Us by Mikhail Aizenberg; When a Poet Sees a Chestnut Tree and Secret Wars by Jean-Pierre Rosnay; and Corinthian Copper by Regina Derieva. He is the translation editor of Contemporary Russian Poetry, and the editor of In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era.  A former president of the American Literary Translators Association, he is also the co-translator of three books of Latin American poetry.