translated by Julia Trubikhina-Kunina, Betsy Hulick, Gerald Janecek
Poetry | $18 $14
"a poetic world of imaginative leaps and metamorphic flows" — Michael Palmer
This is the first English-language collection of poetry by contemporary Russian poet, essayist, and prose writer Vladimir Aristov, a satellite figure of the Metarealist literary movement of the 1980s–90s. While the late Alexei Parshchikov and Arkadii Dragomoshchenko are somewhat better known to US readers, Aristov, who was their close friend, exemplifies both poets' trajectories—his work explores metaphor-centered narrative poetry while assimilating American Language poetry and European postmodern theory. Aristov's poetics is characterized by a philosophical thoughtfulness made more profound by his life-long work as a scientist, and by striking images that evoke the late poetry of Osip Mandelstam.Excerpt ˇ
ExcerptO grant me pity for the dragon
While he sleeps
And the radio announcer’s voice whispers indifferently
His daytime speech.
Before the dragon wakes
Before the bloody depths have opened in his eyes
Before St. George appears
To plunge his spear
Into that powerless eye.
Before the dragon has become so human in his pain.
O grant me time enough while St. George lives.
And the announcer is unable in his fright
To forestall the flight of the bat piercing him
And lets it go into the air as a word.
At last available in English, Vladimir Aristov’s thought-provoking poetry will give many pleasures to its new readers. Aristov layers the complex metaphors associated with the poetry of Metarealism with a strangely beautiful music. He moves carefully, attentively through spaces both built and densely overgrown, and he is ever a keen listener: his poems create worlds that are saturated with language and sounds, even as they glisten in visual unreality and tactile truth.—Stephanie Sandler
Vladimir Aristov is a brilliant and audacious poet of that generation, known as the Third Wave, who helped to reinvigorate Russian poetry and critical thought after the Stalinist years. Challenging the dull orthodoxies of conventional realism, he envisions a poetic world of imaginative leaps and metamorphic flows, of limits tested and overcome. The goal, in Blake’s words: to cleanse the doors of perception and see the world anew.—Michael Palmer