Ugly Duckling Presse

It's No Good: poems / essays / actions
It's No Good: poems / essays / actions

Kirill Medvedev

translated by Keith Gessen, Mark Krotov, Cory Merrill, Bela Shayevich

Poetry/Essay | $17 $14
Spring 2016
Buy E-Book"Finally, ideology instead of careerism and compromise!"

"Kirill Medvedev is the most exciting phenomenon in Russian poetry at the beginning of the new century. To be fair, that's not a compliment. It's a judgment. You get the sense that Medvedev has no fear, and that this fearlessness costs him nothing. Such things are rarely forgiven." —Dmitry Vodennikov

Edited and introduced by Keith Gessen, It's No Good includes selected poems from Kirill Medvedev's four books of poetry as well as his most significant essays: "My Fascism" (on the failure of post-Soviet Russian liberalism, politically and culturally); "Literature and Sincerity" (on the attractions and dangers of the "new sincerity" in Russian letters); "Dmitry Kuzmin, a Memoir" (a detailed memoir and analysis of the work of the 1990s Moscow poet, publisher, and impresario Kuzmin, and what his activity represents). This is Medvedev's first book in English.

Edited by Keith Gessen; Translated by Keith Gessen, Mark Krotov, Cory Merrill, and Bela Shayevich. Guest translation editor: Isabel Lane.

This is the second edition.

Buy E-BOOK (epub) of first edition for $10

Excerpt ˇ


[ excerpt, from "My Fascism"]

Sometimes you hear people described as having "never tasted life." I am one of those people. I look and seem harmless; I'm reasonable, indecisive, well-behaved around others. I rarely consume alcohol; I don't sleep around; I haven't used drugs in five years. But I am full of idealism. And that is a lot more dangerous than drugs, alcohol, Satanism, cannibalism, coprophagy, necrophilia. I hope you choose all of the above before you choose my books.

Close ˆ

About the Author

Kirill Medvedev
Born in Moscow, in 1975, Kirill Medvedev has recently emerged as one of the most exciting, unpredictable voices on the Russian literary scene. Widely published and acclaimed as a poet, he is also is an activist for labor and a member of the Russian Socialist movement “Vpered” [Forward]. He contributes essays regularly to Chto Delat’, and other opposition magazines. His small press, The Free Marxist Publishing House [SMI], has recently released his translations of Pasolini, Eagleton, and Goddard, as well as numerous books at the intersection of literature, art and politics, including a collection of his own essays. This is Medvedev's first book in English.

About the Translator

Keith Gessen was born in Moscow in 1975 and emigrated to the States with his family in 1981. A founding editor of n+1, Gessen is the author of All the Sad Young Literary Men (Viking, 2008). His translation (with Anna Summers) of fabled Moscow iconoclast Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, was published by Penguin in 2009.
Mark Krotov is an assistant editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He was born in Moscow in 1985 and moved to Atlanta in 1991. He graduated from Columbia in 2008.
Cory Merrill graduated from Amherst College in 2008, and subsequently completed one year of masters study in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Bela Shayevich
Bela Shayevich is a writer, translator, and illustrator. She is the co-translator of I Live I See by Vsevolod Nekrasov (UDP). Her translations have appeared in It's No Good by Kirill Medvedev (UDP/n+1) and various periodicals including Little Star and The New Yorker.   

Advance Praise

It’s No Good offers a broad portrait of the author as an idiosyncratic and uncompromising thinker. It aims to encapsulate the diversity—and the interconnectedness—of his activities as a poet, a cultural critic and an activist.—Rachel Wetzler, The New York Observer
Part of the nightmare world that It’s No Good evokes is one that both Orwell and the members of Pussy Riot would understand. It’s a nightmare of euphemism and cant. “This is what happens,” Mr. Medvedev writes, “when the authorities don’t want to speak clearly and don’t want to be spoken of clearly, either."—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
Medvedev’s poetry—casual, often explicitly political, humorous; even silly at times—fiercely diagnoses the banality and disease of Putin-era Russia. A lonely and alienated narrator-flâneur wanders Moscow, sharply aware yet stupefied. After familiarizing oneself with Medvedev’s eye, one becomes at home with his rhythm, develops affection for his subtle and poignant observations: cheap pâté amid a mega-grocery store, “the syrupy poison of empathy” we feel at others’ misfortunes, wonder at the intense loneliness of a newborn’s first six months of life.—Lucy McKeon, The Paris Review Daily
It’s thrilling to read this work. Finally, ideology instead of careerism and compromise!—Chris Cumming, Bomblog
Medvedev’s work explicitly addresses a Russian audience, but any American at all concerned with what it means to be a writer today should find It’s No Good of great interest.—Jeff Parker, Los Angeles Review of Books
While Medvedev delves into the complexities of art’s role in Putin’s Russia from his place within the Russian context, the American, and Western reader, in general, comes away not only with a greater understanding of the complexity of a political activist’s lot in Russia today, but burning with the universal questions about every society’s relationship between art and politics.—Will Evans, Three Percent