OK, so how many of you go straight for the bios at the back of the mag? I know, as an editor, I do. (More generally, I also read the footnotes first, to familiarize myself with the territory.) We are fortunate to have among the translators of the Russia Issue of the Atlanta Review many who are accomplished younger English language poets in their own right. A partial list only: Ilya Kaminsky, Phil Metres, Derek Mong, Valzhina Mort, Philip Nikolayev.Today, it is their turn to shine, and my, to rally the troops. I invite the translators themselves to post in comments paragraph-long proposals for their books-in-progress and, of course, for prospective publishers to contact them. I invite readers to return to this page to explore the links as more of the features, and brief reviews of books, are added. Today's post concludes with "a review of the literature"; recent Russian poetry books in English translation. The number of presses that publish poetry in translation being countable on one's toes and fingers, each of these is, indeed, a major achievement.
The Chicago Translation Workshop is Daniil Cherkassky, an accordionist and author of a socialist realist blog, gramonist.livejournal.com; Anton Tenser, poet and linguist specializing in Romani languages/ ethnography; and Sasha Spektor, writer and professor of Russian language and literature at the University of Georgia-Athens.
Alex Cigale’s poems and translations appear in Literary Imagination, Modern Poetry in Translation, New England Review, PEN America, Two Lines, and World Literature Today. He is a 2015 NEA Translation Fellow, for Mikhail Eremin, and also edits at MadHat Press, Plume, St. Petersburg Review, Third Wednesday, and Verse Junkies.
Boris Dralyuk translated several volumes from Russian and Polish and is co-editor of the Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (2015). He received First Prize in the 2011 Compass Translation Award and the 2012 Brodsky/Spender competition. He writes regularly for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Katie Farris is the author of BOYSGIRLS (Marick Press) and co-translator of several books, including Guy Jean’s Selected Poems and Polina Barskova’s This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press). She teaches at San Diego State University.
Benjamin Felker-Quin studied Russian and literary translation at Hampshire College, where he worked on the poetry of Osip Mandelshtam, Alexander Vvedensky, and Joseph Brodsky. He lives in Pennsylvania.
He is one of the translators of the forthcoming Writing in the Dark: Five Siege Poets (UDP, 2016).
Anne O. Fisher has translated the classic Soviet satires The Twelve Chairs and The Little Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov. She and her husband, Derek Mong, received an NEA Fellowship for their translations of Maxim Amelin.
Sibelan Forrester is Professor at Swarthmore College. Her translations of Stepanova have appeared in Relocations: 3 Contemporary Russian Women Poets (Zephyr Press 2013), shortlisted for the 2014 Best Translated Book Awards.
Alyssa Gillespie is Associate Professor at Notre Dame. Her books include A Russian Psyche: The Poetic Mind of Marina Tsvetaeva (2001) and Taboo Pushkin: Topics, Texts, Interpretations (2012). She won the 2012 Compass Translation Award and placed third in the 2011 Brodsky/Spender Prize.
Born in Riga, Latvia, Dana Golin has poems in Russian and translations in English appearing in Cardinal Points, Druzhba Narodov, Gvideon, Novy Zhurnal, Big Bridge (tribute to Andrey Voznesensky), Cortland Review, IPR, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Plume. She has a graduate degree in psychology and works as a counselor.
Moscow-born Peter Golub edited the online New Russian Poetry for Jacket Magazine. His books include a translation of Andrei Sen Senkov’s Anatomical Theater. Recipient of the 2010 Pen/Heim Translation Prize, he lives in San Francisco.
Betsy Hulick lives and writes in NYC. She is the translator of Uncle Vanya and Other Plays by Anton Chekhov (Bantam Classics, 1994), Nikolai Gogol's Inspector General (produced on Broadway), and the poetry of Pushkin and Vladimir Aristov (with Julia Trubikhina Kunina) forthcoming in 2015 from UDP.
Ilya Kaminsky (see poets).
J. Kates, a poet and literary translator, is the editor of Zephyr Press. He lives in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. His Mikhail Yeryomin: Selected Poems 1957-2009 won the Cliff Becker Book Prize and is out from White Pine Press.
Yasha Klots is Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech and the author of Joseph Brodsky in Lithuania (in Russian). With Ufberg, he co-translated Tamara Petkevich’s Memoir of a Gulag Actress and Sergei Dovlatov’s The Outpost: Notes of a Correspondent.
Phil Metres is the author of A Concordance of Leaves (2013) and abu ghraib arias (2011), winner of 2012 Arab American Book Award in poetry. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry and garnered two NEA fellowships. I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky is just out from CSU.
Derek Mong is the author of Other Romes (Saturnalia Books), poetry editor of Mantis, and a doctoral candidate at Stanford. He and his wife, Anne O. Fisher, published the first English-language interview with Maxim Amelin in Jacket2.
Ainsley Morse translates from Russian and the language formerly known as Serbo-Croatian. Her books include I Live I See: the selected poems of Vsevolod Nekrasov (2013) and Anatomical Theater by Andrey Sen-Senkov (2014).
Valzhyna Mort’s (born Minsk, Belarus) two poetry collections are Factory of Tears and Collected Body (Blue Flower Arts, 2008, 2011). Editor of two poetry anthologies, she is a recipient of the Lannan Fellowship and the Bess Hokin prize. She teaches at Cornell.
Since relocating to the U.S. in 1990, Philip Nikolayev (b. 1966, Moscow) has published primarily in English. Nikolayev’s four collections include Monkey Time (2001 Verse Prize) and Letters from Aldenderry (2006). He lives in Cambridge, MA, and co-edits Fulcrum: an Annual of Poetry and Aesthetics.
Jamie Olson writes about poetry, translation, and Russian culture on his Flaxen Wave blog. His work appears in Asymptote, Cardinal Points, and Two Lines (Kibirov), Russian Life (Dmitry Mamin-Sibiryak), Drunken Boat (Irina Yevsa),and Crab Creek Review. He teaches at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA.
Henry W. Pickford is Associate Professor at Duke. He works in philosophy and literature (chiefly German but also Russian). He is the translator and author of Critical Models: Catchwords and Interventions, by Theodor W. Adorno (Columbia University Press) and Sense of Semblance: Philosophical Analyses of Holocaust Art (Fordham, 2013).
Ian Probstein (b. 1953) is a bilingual English-Russian poet and translator of poetry, author of eight books of poetry in Russian, one in English, a book of prose, some dozen books of translation, and 250 publications in several languages.
Dmitri Psurtsev (b. 1960) is a Russian poet and translator. His two books of poetry, Ex Roma Tertia and Tengiz Notebook, were published in 2001. He teaches translation at Moscow State Linguistic University.
Misha Semenov (Princeton class of 2015 valedictorian, studying architecture and translation) was born in San Francisco to Russian parents. His translations are in St. Petersburg Review, Talisman, and Big Bridge 21st Century Russian Poetry Anthology. He won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Compass Translation Award.
Bela Shayevich, a Soviet-born writer, illustrator, and translator, lives in Philadelphia. She co-translated Vsevolod Nekrasov’s I Live I See. Her translation of Ludmila Ulitskaya’s novel The Big Green Tent is forthcoming from Macmillan in 2015.
Kat Shapiro (Ekaterina Chapiro) is a poet and translator studying for her M.A. in poetry and American Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She has contributed essays and translations to the Potomac Review, Able Muse, and Asymptote.
Larissa Shmailo’s translation of the Russian Futurist opera Victory over the Sun is from Cervena Barva Press. Her latest collection of poetry is #specialcharacters, from Unlikely Books. A novel, Patient Women, is forthcoming from BlazevOX.
Nika Skandiaka (b. Moscow) grew up in the U.S. and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has published translations from Russian and translations of English poetry into Russian. Her poems are in TextOnly, Vavilon, and Ulysses Unchained.
Alexandra Smith is a faculty member of the University of Edinburgh. Her books include Song of the mocking bird: Pushkin in the work of Marina Tsvetaeva and Montaging Pushkin: Pushkin and Visions of Modernity in Russian 20th-century Poetry.
Charles Swank graduated from Hampshire College, where he studied literature, translation, and Russian. He lives and works in western Massachusetts. He is one of the translators of the forthcoming Writing in the Dark: Five Siege Poets (UDP, 2016).
Julia Trubikhina (Kunina), born in Moscow, is visiting Associate Professor at Hunter College, CUNY. Julia has published four books of original and translated verse in Russian, and a translation of Vladimir Aristov into English (forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse).
Ross Ufberg’s translations include Memoir of A Gulag Actress by Tamara Petkevich, Polish writer Marek Hłasko’s Beautiful Twentysomethings (2013), and Vladimir Lorchenkov’s novels The Good Life is Elsewhere (2014). He co-founded New Vessel Press.
Katherine Young is the author of Day of the Border Guards (2014 Miller Williams Prize finalist). Her poems are in Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, and Shenandoah; her translations placed third in the 2011 Brodsky/Spender Prize.
SELECTED RECENT BOOKS
Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, Endarkment (Eugene Ostashevsky editor, Lyn Hejinian introduction, Genya Turovskaya and Bela Shayevich translators; Wesleyan University Press, 2014)
Sergey Gandlevsky, A Kindred Orphanhood (Phil Metres translator; Zephyr Press, 2003)
Inna Kabysh, Two Poems (Katherine Young translator; Artists Proof Editions)
Daniil Kharms, Today I Wrote Nothing; Selected Writings (Matvei Yankilevich translator; Overlook Press/Duckworth 2009)
Vladislav Khodasevich, Selected Poems (Peter Daniels translator, Michael Wachtel introduction; Angel Books/The Overlook Press, 2013). "Vladislav Khodasevich occupies a place just below the giants in the Russian pantheon of poetry, unique for having come to maturity during the Berlin immigration of the 1920s and 1930s. The British poet and translator Peter Daniels's Selected is best at representing Khodasevich's substantial formal craftsmanship (though he may be served in English by following meter less regularly). This Russian Thomas Hardy/Robert Frost, who can at any moment remind one of a 1930s Frank O'Hara, may be read nearly as an early Confessionalist! Here is the conclusion, in Peter's translation, of his classic poem to his father, 'Dactyls'".
He had six fingers, my father. His son? He has inherited
neither the humble heart, the brood of children,
nor the six fingers. Like placing a bet on a dubious card
he stakes his soul, his word, on a word, a sound.
Now on a January night, drunken with six-fingered meter and
six-fingered verses, the son remembers his father.
Aleksei Kruchenykh, Victory Over the Sun (Larissa Shmailo translator, Eugene Ostashevsky introduction; Cervena Barva Press, 2014). "Velimir Khlebnikov, literally, missed the train on co-penning this one, contributing only a poem to Kruchenykh's libretto. Staged alongside Mayakovsky's Vladimir Mayakovsky, A Tragedy, the original 1913 production of Victory is remembered primarily for Kazimir Malevich's costumes, lighting, and set design, instigations for the Suprematism and Constructivism still to come in 1915 and 1919, respectively…. Nothing is more fitting for this centennial of "Russian Futurianism" than a celebration of Kruchenykh's great contribution to poetry, his Zaum, and not just for its verbal play – the inventive neologizing and the épater-le-bourgeois utopianism – but for the underappreciated antilyricism of his verse, as well. In communicating to us his musicality in English, Larissa Shmailo has done a remarkable job in conferring on Kruchenykh his true due as a poet." AC
Lev Loseff, Selected Early Poems (Henry W. Pickford translator; Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, 2013)
Kirill Medvedev, It’s No Good (Keith Gessen et al. translators; N+1/ Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012). "Imagine Charles Bukowski hopped up on a Marxist Sorbonne education and you have Medvedev. If you want to understand the current situation in Russia, nationally and in poetry, this book is the best primer I know." AC
Vadim Mesyats, A Guest in the Homeland: Selected Writings (Simon Pettit, Bruce McClelland, Alex Cigale, et al. translators; Talisman House, 1997)
Vsevolod Nekrasov, I LIVE I SEE (Ainsley Morse and Bela Shayevich translators; Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013)
Lev Rubinstein, Catalogue of Compleat Comedic Novelties (Phil Metres and Tatiana Tulchinsky translators; UDP, 2014)
Mariya Rybakova, Gneditch (Elena Dimov translator; Glagoslav, 2015)
Andrey Sen-Senkov, Anatomical Theater (Ainsley Morse and Peter Golub translators; Zephyr Press, 2013)
Gleb Shulpyakov, A Fire Proof Box and Letters to Yakub (Christopher Mattison translator; Canarium Press 2011, 2014)
Arseny Tarkovsky, I Burned at the Feast, translated by Phil Metres and Dmitry Psurtsev (Cleveland State Press, 2015). "Having had a front row seat as these translations made their appearance over the past five years in various periodicals (see links below), my reaction has been that Metres and Psurtsev had largely accomplished something that I had previously thought impossible, giving us a Tarkovsky in lyrical, fluid English versions that capture the voice, intelligence, character, and the very substantial poetic gift of the man." AC
Marina Tsvetaeva, Dark Elderberry Branch (Jean Valentine and Ilya Kaminsky narrators; Alice James Books, 2012 )
Alexander Vvedensky, An Invitation for Me to Think (Selected, Eugene Ostashevsky and Matvei Yankilevich translators; New York Review Books, 2013)
Mikhail Yeryomin, Selected 1957-2009 (J. Kates translator; White Pine Press, 2014, Winner of the Cliff Becker Prize). "Of Yeromin's Poems, the critic Ilya Kukulin has written that they give “metaphorical expression to the transformation of the soul.” In this respect, he connects Yeryomin to Osip Mandelstam, another practitioner of the eight-line verse, finding therein a common source in Mandelstam’s writings on Dante’s “search for the spiritual foundations of the world.” Kukulin concludes that these external transformations have an invisible counterpart in the internal “soul work, the discovery of one’s own ‘I’ – for the apprehension of all these treasures. Each time, this apprehension may only be partial [provisional] and so it requires a choice…. Yeryomin’s art offers one possibility for how such poetry may endure in the post-modern era.... Even with all its philosophic qualities, it remains a personal [private] and faith-filled [trusting] lyric.” Jim Kates's Selected offers flashes of the brilliance of this acknowledged master whose body of work (all octets!) constitutes one of the most important of the second half of the 20th c."
She closed her eyelids. Not to step, but be plunged
Into a garden hidden beneath them. The trees
Not yet alphabet, now no longer ancient alleys of text.
Love is still a second hedge. Movement
No longer burdensome, but even less a burrow.
Lips do not discover with a word
The radiant appearance of pearls
Over my face.
Relocations: 3 Contemporary Russian Women Poets. Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova, and Maria Stepanova (translated by Catherine Ciepiela, Anna Khasin, and Sibelan Forrester, respectively; Zephyr Press, 2013)
I'm a phenomenon quite out of the ordinary; the Notebooks, Diaries and Letters of Daniil Kharms (Tony Anemone and Peter Scotto, editors and translators; Academic Press, 2013)
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Robert Chandler, Irina Mashinski, Boris Dralyuk editors; Penguin, 2015)
Poems from the Stray Dog Café, translated by Meryl Natchez with Polina Barskova (hit & run press, 2015)
Stray Dog Cabaret (Peter Schmidt, Catherine Ciepiela, Honore Moore translators; New York Review Books, 2007)
Russian Silver Age Poetry, Sibelan Forrester and Martha Kelly, editors and translators (Academic Press, 2015). “It being dauntingly impossible to do justice in translation to that great world treasure that is the Poetry of the Russian Silver Age, editors and translators Forrester and Kelly have given us something more — selections of best existing translations are here amended by new ones and framed within their wider cultural context — the contribution that poets have always made to their culture and age — as critics, essayist, and yes, historians. A valuable personal discovery for myself was Mayakovsky’s touching tribute on the death of Velimir Khlebnikov (1922). This much needed book promises to become indispensable to students and experts alike." AC
Vladimir Aristov, What We Saw from the Mountain (Julia Trubikhina Kunina, Betsy Hullick, Gerald Janecek translators (UDP, 2016)
WRITTEN IN THE DARK: FIVE SIEGE POETS (Polina Barskova editor, Ainsley Morse et al translators; UDP, 2016)
AND THE REALLY BIG NEWS!
The New York Times headline: Columbia University Press to Publish New Translations of Russian Literature (100 NEW BOOKS!)
ATLANTA REVIEW RUSSIA ISSUE (Dan Veach editor, Spr. 2015, XXI.2)
ARS INTERPRES (Alexander Deriev editor)
CARDINAL POINTS (Irina Mashinsky, Robert Chandler, Boris Dralyuk eds.)
FOUR CENTURIES (multi-lingual; Ilya Perlmutter editor)
THE MANHATTAN REVIEW (Issue 15.2, Philip Fried editor)
MODERN POETRY IN TRANSLATION (Sasha Dugdale editor)
ST. PETERSBURG REVIEW (Elizabeth L. Hodges et al. editors)
SPRINGHOUSE JOURNAL (Elizabeth L. Hodges editor)
TELEPHONE 4, Sveta Litvak Issue (Paul Legault, Sharmila Cohen editors)