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August 2007

Dreams of Our Russian Summer

An Interview with Hisham Matar
Concern. I think that was what I craved. A warm and steady and unchangeable concern. In a time of blood and tears, in a Libya full of bruise-checkered and urine-stained men, urgent with want and longing…
On the Use and Abuse of Letherburg for Life
You will have had no difficulty recognizing the German crib tacked onto Daniil Kharms's neologism in the title of my remarks. It is Nietzsche's essay “On the Use and Abuse of History for…
Translated from Russian
The Beginning
I wake up at eight a.m. On the sixteenth floor every day at eight a.m. Sorokin sneezes. After that, on the fifteenth floor, Aunt Masha falls out of bed. I wake up because I live on the fourteenth floor…
Translated from Russian
Ars Poetica
Poetry Forgive me for having helped you see you are not made of words alone.
Translated from Spanish
Bad News on a Scrap of Newspaper
These days when my friends die only their names die. How can one yearn from the inhuman pit to grasp more than newsprint, shiny black wispy letters, arrows sunk into private memories? Only one who lives…
Translated from Spanish
Milgrom
By Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
A girl is sewing herself a dress for the first time. She bought three meters of cheap fabric (just over a ruble a meter), but the fabric turns out to be surprisingly pretty, black with bright bursts of…
Translated from Russian by Keith Gessen & Anna Summers
St. Mesrop Cycle
EULOGISTICMost holy grave of Oshakan,Soil of intellect today, from whenceAn illustrious history of fifteen stormy centuries,From East to West--two Armenias entire,Moves freely, praying, toward You . .…
Translated from Armenian
Pears from Gudauty
By Ludmila Ulitskaya
We could hear the dry coughing of our landlord, Khuta Kursua, through the partition wall, and Mother’s eyes were wide with fear. I was ten, my own lesions had barely healed, and now we were neighbors…
Translated from Russian by Arch Tait
(“Lengua”: María Zambrano)
The word's dawn is meaning's night I walk in springtime. The wild, strange, violent spring. Birdsong. The beginning of everything, verdure that seems to levitate. Death with a cig in its long…
Translated from Swedish
(“Analogia”)
This poem could be a face Not the right one, but the true one. Analogies deal with relationships that hold. It Speaks. The poem's similarity to the face consists, among other things, in the poet's…
Translated from Swedish
(“Parousía”)
Our time, why shouldn't I go backward into the moment with my trembling preferences, my restless desire, my thought's uttermost solitude? When I blink I usually see my mother, sitting on the sofa…
Translated from Swedish
from “The Moment for Pindar Is a Small Space in Time”
(Analogia) This poem could be a face Not the right one, but the true one. Analogies deal with relationships that hold. It Speaks. The poem's similarity to the face consists, among other things, in…
Translated from Swedish
The Conversation of the Hours
The first hour says to the second,   I am a hermit. The second hour says to the third,   I am an abyss. The third hour says to the fourth,   put on the morning. The fourth hour says to…
Translated from Russian
The Golem in the Mirror
By Nadezhda Gorlova
I dreamed of Prague at night. It looked the way each of us to whom the words “Old City” speak at least a little would imagine. I knew the Golem had returned, and I ran through the streets…
Translated from Russian by Deborah Hoffman
Dark Thoughts
By Regina Derieva
I’m almost like that dark hallwaywith a few framed photosand lamps on the walls.So many visitorshave walked through me,dark and light,depending on the illumination.Copyright Regina Derieva. Translation…
Translated from Russian
Unity of Form
By Regina Derieva
People zealously granted me headless nails / and spools without thread.
Translated from Russian by Valzhyna Mort
Empress
One morning when she and her mother were making the bed–she was on one side, her mother on the other–Cecilia showed the first sign of madness. She suddenly said, “The plain is moving.…
Translated from Italian
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