Ugly Duckling Presse

What We Saw from This Mountain
What We Saw from This Mountain

Vladimir Aristov

translated by Julia Trubikhina-Kunina, Betsy Hulick, Gerald Janecek

Poetry | $18 $14
Spring 2017
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"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 (or Meta-metaphorist) 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

Excerpt

O 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.
Close ˆ

About the Author

Vladimir Aristov
Photo credit: Alexei Parshchikov
Vladimir Aristov (b. 1950, Moscow) is a poet and physicist. Since his first publications in the late 1980s, Aristov has authored seven books of poetry, a novel, numerous articles and essays, and a play about the Russian philosopher Gustav Shpet (killed by Stalin in the 1930s). Associated with the Metarealist movement, Aristov’s poetry and essays have been published widely in Russian literary magazines (Nezavisimaia gazeta, Arion, Vozdukh, NLO, etc.) He is a recipient of the Alexei Kruchenykh Prize (1993) and the Andrei Bely Independent Literary Prize (2008), and his work was included in two US anthologies of post-modern Russian poetry, The Third Wave and Crossing Centuries: The New Generation in Russian Poetry. He has translated George Seferis and Michael Palmer into Russian and is currently working on a collection of essays entitled Idem-Forma.

About the Translator

Julia Trubikhina-Kunina
Photo credit: Sahsa Tyagno-Ryadno
Julia Trubikhina-Kunina received her PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University. She teaches at Hunter College, CUNY. She has translated Susan Howe, Anthony Hecht, and Nathaniel Tarn into Russian, and her own poetry has appeared in anthologies, among them An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets (University of Iowa Press) and Crossing Centuries: The New Generation in Russian Poetry (Talisman), and in literary journals such as Novyi mir, Arion, and Boundary 2. A book of poetry, Little Practical Jokes of Space at Night, was published by Pushkinskii Fond (St. Petersburg). A scholarly book on Vladimir Nabokov and translation was published in 2015.
Betsy Hulick
Photo credit: Alex Kaplan
Betsy Hulick's translations include Anton Chekhov's major plays and vaudevilles (Bantam World Classics) and narrative poems by Pushkin (Fence, Cardinal Points), as well as poems by Morgenstern, Akhmatova, Mandelstam and Pasternak. Her translation of Gogol's Inspector General was produced on Broadway. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals and she has written librettos of two short stories by Jorge Luis Borges. She has had fellowships at Yaddo, the VCCA, and Ragdale, as well as residencies abroad.
Gerald Janecek
Gerald Janecek is Professor of Russian Emeritus at the University of Kentucky, and the author of The Look of Russian Literature, Zaum: The Transrational Poetry of Russian Futurism, Sight and Sound Entwined: Studies of the New Russian Poetry, as well as multiple scholarly articles. He has translated Andrei Bely, Vsevolod Nekrasov, Vladimir Aristov, and other Russian poets. The first to translate Vsevolod Nekrasov into English, he devotes a chapter of his book on Moscow Conceptualism to the poets's minimal and visual works, and his reminiscences of their meetings are provided in the afterword to the UDP edition of Nekrasov's selected poems, I Live I See.

Advance Praise

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