Polina Barskova & Gennady Gor & Dmitry Maksimov & Sergey Rudakov & Vladimir Sterligov & Pavel Zaltsman
Poetry | $18 $15
"In a world gone mad, the refusal of conventional sense
was a conceptual necessity." — Charles Bernstein
Polina Barskova, a Russian-language poet and scholar of the Siege, edited this volume from archival materials. The book includes an introduction by Barskova and an afterword by renowned literary critic Ilya Kukulin. The poems and supplementary materials were translated by Anand Dibble, Ben Felker-Quinn, Ainsley Morse, Eugene Ostashevsky, Rebekah Smith, Charles Swank, Jason Wagner, and Matvei Yankelevich.Excerpt ˇ
Here a horse laughed on and time bounded,
The river entered the buildings.
Here papa was mama
And mama was mooing.
Suddenly the janitor exits,
He goes left.
He holds logs.
He shoves time on with his foot,
He kicks the years,
He throws the sleeping ones into the window.
The men sit
And eat soap.
They drink Neva water,
Gulping grass after...
A young woman pisses standing
There, where not long ago she strolled.
There, where empty spring roves,
Where spring roams.
[Gennady Gor, trans. Ben Felker-Quinn, Eugene Ostashevsky, and Matvei Yankelevich]
- 01.02.17 | Written in the Dark reviewed in Publisher's Weekly
- 12.14.16 | Written in the Dark reviewed by Melissa Beck on The Book Binder's Daughter
- 11.16.16 | Polina Barskova interviewed for Asymptote Journal
- 11.07.16 | Written in the Dark reviewed by Greg Bem in Queen Mob's Tea House
- 10.27.16 | Written in the Dark reviewed by Piotr Florczyk in Los Angeles Review of Books
- 10.02.16 | Written in the Dark reviewed in The Yiddish Daily Forward
News and Reviews
The texts collected here represent a remarkable, stunning discovery. This is not only because the unofficial, deskdrawer poems in this book were hidden and unknown until quite recently. Their survival was extremely improbable, and their transmission here is something of a miracle. These poems push modernist verse in new directions.—Emily Van Buskirk, Princeton University
In a world gone mad—over one million perishing in the Nazi siege of Leningrad—the refusal of conventional sense was a conceptual necessity. Written in the Dark is full of wit, gallows humor, and mordant courage, with overlays of Surrealism, Futurism, Acmeism, Symbolism, and the absurd. Grappling with a fate that defies logic, poetry becomes a necessary measure against the dark, like the sparks from two sticks of wood, creating a fire that warms even in an apocalypse.—Charles Bernstein, U. of Pennsylvania