Ugly Duckling Presse


Artis Ostups

translated by Jayde Will

Fall 2018
Gestures is a collection of prose poems connecting seemingly distinct elements, found either in urban space or in the realms of cultural history. Some readers, who had a chance to experience these ghostly constellations their original Latvian, complained that they cast a melancholic spell. Descriptions of landscapes and people pose no consoling effect, instead they function as darkened reflections of complex human emotions, trying to escape metaphysical abstractions. Cadence is there, but lyricism is not its master.Excerpt ˇ



Poland at night – a black, taciturn landscape, as if it was photographed with the lid still on. Emptiness after emptiness. Pulsating here and there – HOTEL FOX, DRIVE-IN – the light of which, reflecting in the dark screen, is an inland lighthouse for weary truckers. A bus sways on the bend of the narrow road, and awakens me to an already-read book. Anonymous villages on the other side of the hills, on which the golden age of industry slumbers. Images from the past unite in fine facets like an insect’s eye. An insomnia machine with windows clouded by drunks has thrust me towards Europe’s lowest point.Close ˆ

About the Author

Artis Ostups
Photo credit: Valdis Jansons
Artis Ostups is the author of the poetry collections Comrade Snow (Biedrs Sniegs)Photography and Scissors (Fotografija un škeres), and Gestures (Žesti). In addition to poetry, he writes literary criticism. He is a researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore, and Art; a curator at the Literature and Music Museum in Riga; and the founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Punctum. His work has been translated into English, German, French, Russian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, and Croatian.

About the Translator

Jayde Will lives in Riga, Latvia. His translations have appeared in The Dedalus Book of Lithuanian Literature, several Best European Fiction anthologies, and journals such as The Poetry Review and Mantis. In addition, he also does voice-overs and performances for various audio-visual projects.