27 December 2013

Poet / Поэт


                                               - A.A.

Being a poet is pleasant, very nice,
even with lungs that nicotine has blackened.
The rest all toil away while he, the blackguard,
is lapping up the milk of paradise.

Deceit for dopes, that ‘agony of words’,
a formula for staying out of prison.
Freedom it is—no worries and no mission—
to catch those words and set them down in verse.

Poets feel free to chirrup in their notes,
like a mother sow feeling she’s going to farrow.
And which of them dies early? It’s the fellow
who finds it work. He’s really writing prose.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)


                                               - А.А.

Поэтом быть приятно и легко,
пусть легкие черны от никотина.
Пока все трудятся, поэт, скотина,
небесное лакает молоко.

Все “муки слова” — ложь для простаков,
чтоб избежать в милицию привода.
Бездельная, беспечная свобода —
ловленье слов, писание стихов.

Поэт чирикать в книжках записных
готов, как свиноматка к опоросу.
А умирают рано те из них,
кто знает труд и втайне пишет прозу.

02 December 2013

Fairy Tale No. 2 / Сказка № 2

Fairy Tale No. 2

One day the Tsar rose early, leaving you, my
dearest, asleep, and took a morning view
of his low-budget quarters and his courtyard
with its flagpole where a scrap of fabric flew.

A mighty voice then said: ‘Behold my say-so!’—
made gloom and dark descend upon the earth,
and then whipped up and let loose a tornado,
a twisting thing that dealt lightning and death.

The firmament cracked, the rag tore off the flagpole,
the radio roared, and clouds along the ground
crawled on their bellies, like before the founding,
when heaven and earth were still together bound.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)

Сказка № 2

Царь поднимался рано и, пока ты
спала, шёл за порог взглянуть с утра
на небогатые свои палаты
и кол с мочалом подреди двора.

Но властный голос произнёс: “Так надо”,
и опустил на землю мрак и мглу,
и раскрутил и запустил торнадо,
молниесмертоносную юлу.

Трещала твердь, с кола рвалось мочало,
мычало радио, и облака ползли
на брюхе по земле, как до начала,
до разделенья неба и земли.

25 November 2013

Fairy Tale No.1 / Сказка № 1

Fairy Tale No.1

Wandering about on Wheresoever Hill,
leaving some words carved on a linden tree:
‘L.L. was here’, ‘L.L. was here’, ‘L.L. was…’
He’s been and gone. Was here, and now he’s not.
Although he tried to pick a hundred locks,
although onto the earth he poured dead water.

It left a dead spot where it fell to ground,
which now from the moist earth is looking out,
like L.L.’s eye, squinting but not connecting.
It looks from Wheresoever Hill toward
a star, bright on a beauty’s sapient brow,
where this, his fairy tale, can be repeated.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)

Сказка № 1

Гуляя по Кудыкиной горе,
вырезывая в липовой коре:
«Здесь был Л.Л.», «Здесь был Л.Л.», «Здесь был Л…»
Здесь был, да сплыл. Здесь был, да был таков.
Хоть пробовал замычкой сто замков,
хоть воду мертвую на землю вылил.

В земле осталось мёртвое пятно.
Теперь с сырой земли глядит оно,
как глаз Л.Л., прищурившись и мимо.
С Кудыкиной горы глядит туда,
где в мудром лбу красавицы звезда
горит, где эта сказка повторима.

08 November 2013

A Postcard from New England, 3 / Открытка из Новой Англии 3

A Postcard from New England, 3

                                    For my Father

The birds have flown away, except for one
still fluttering when I look back in farewell
over October, thanking it because
all that I see is coiled and curled up tight
when, walking in the woods, I happen on
a frontier pole closing a tree-edge dell—
a maple bough sloped into emptiness,
hesitant pointer held up by a guide.

There’s a dark shutter now before my eyes.
My vision, though, will not become impaired.
The better half of life remains to me,
I see it ever clearer through that gap.
Accept this verse, I pray you, as your prize,
country so rich and innocent of care!
I open up for autumn Halloween,
to kids as pumpkins and as witches garbed.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)

Открытка из Новой Англии 3


Все птицы улетели, но одна
все мечется, когда перевожу
прощальный взгляд, октябрь благодаря
за то, что взвито все и завито,
бродя в лесу и натыкаясь на
шлагбаум, перекрывающий межу,
кленовый сук, упершийся в ничто,
как робкий посошок поводыря.

В моих глазах есть щелка темноты.
Но зренью моему не овдоветь.
Ведь лучшая для жизни половина
сквозь эту щель все явственней видна.
Прими мой стих, как подаянье, ты,
беспечная богатая страна.
Я в дом впускаю осень Халлоуина,
детишек в виде тыкв и в виде ведьм.

17 October 2013

Photography Lesson, 1 / Урок фотографии 1

Photography Lesson, 1

Here’s one more. Why the tears, you fool?
Try taking a squint through your fist,
and you’ll see two backs come unglued
from the wall they were leaning against,
you’ll see features begin to fill out,
and mouths open up in a smile,
an arm stretching out in front,
then two jackets who don’t realise—
plus two shirts, each one with a head—
that for years they have both been dead.
By that mountain of coats and hats,
like a white mouse, not coming through
(weak developing fluid, perhaps),
pick him out—standing there is you.

There I stand, my back to the wall,
underdone and a wee bit pissed,
and I’m watching what will befall
threaten me with its knotty fist.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)

Read Henry Pickford's translation here.

Урок фотографии 1

Вот еще. Что ты плачешь, дурак?
Посмотри на картинку в кулак
и увидишь, как две спины
отделяются от стены,
обретают объем черты,
раскрывает улыбка рты,
и вперед протянулась рука,
и не знают два пиджака,
две рубашки, две головы,
что давно уж они мертвы.
Там, где груда пальто и шляп,
недодержан, как белая мышь,
(видно, был проявитель слаб)
приглядишь — это ты стоишь.

Я стою, прислонясь к стене,
недодержан и под хмельком,
и гляжу: грядущее мне
угловатым грозит кулаком.

02 October 2013



A pity about Stolypin, speaking historically
or just sort of mulling it over;
a pity, too, about Bogrov and his hysterically
yap-yapping revolver.

A pity about that policeman. And about that crow
roaming about Bald Mountain.
A pity about the (plucked from the police crew
and pumping too much testosterone)

executioner, since dawn on the vodka –
but the blasted stuff won’t blunt his senses!
From the proboscis of pallid Mordechai
he removes those lenses.

The hangman takes pity on the Jew – let this Yid think
he’s dreaming, in a doze.
You must admit it’s awkward hanging by the neck
a man with a pince-nez on his nose.

(Translation © G.S. Smith) 

 Translator's Note:Dmitry Grigorievich Bogrov (b. 1887), whose birth name was Mordechai Gershkovich Bogrov, was simultaneously an anarchist revolutionary and an agent of the Okhrana (secret police). On 14 September 1911 at a performance in the Kiev Opera House he shot Petr Stolypin, the Russian prime minister, who died four days later. Bogrov was sentenced to death and hanged on 24 September 1911 in the Kiev fortress of Lysa Hora (Bald Mountain). Tsar Nicholas II soon ordered that the investigation into the shooting be discontinued, giving rise to unending speculation about the true motivation for Bogrov’s action. Alexander Solzhenitsyn discusses these events in his historical novel August 1914. Lev Loseff analysed the novel in his essay ‘Russia’s Great Future. Notes on Reading Solzhenitsyn’s August 1914’ (1984), and wrote this poem the same year, adding some details, such as the crow, that are not in Solzhenitsyn’s narrative.


Столыпина жаль, говоря исторически
и просто так, житейским манером,
но жаль и Богрова с его истерически
тявкающим револьвером.

Жалко жандарма. Жалко по Лысой
горе гуляющую ворону.
Жалко доставленного из полиции
с переизбытком тестостерону

душегуба, с утра хватившего водки —
но не берет, да ну ее к псу!
И он снимает с бледного Мордки
стекляшки, торчавшие на носу.

Палач проявляет жалость к еврею —
нехай жиду кажется, что всё во сне.
Да и неловко вешать за шею
человека в пенсне.

02 September 2013

Nina Loseff's Memories of the Siege / Нина Мохова-Лосева «Блокадное детство»

Nina Loseff's childhood memories of the Siege of Leningrad in this month's Zvezda magazine (Russian only) / Нина Мохова-Лосева «Блокадное детство», журнал Звезда: http://bit.ly/15P96mD

26 August 2013

Gentrification / Джентрификация


                    For Svetlana Elnitskaya 

These days, the river only fools about,
idling its time away.
The power plant’s in ruins. The water, though,
still roars like the machines it drove,
with stifled wave.

A huge apartment. Through
what was a factory window, view
the autumn park, the river’s molten-honey seethe,
and further off, the brick-red hue
of fulling mills that used to bash and beat.

In this place woollen thread was spun,
and woven bolts stood stacked around,
the river buckled down in regulated run,
and surplus value grasped and grubbed,
so it accrued.

Enough accumulated. Now it’s time
for sanded oak, squared-up scrubbed tile,
for burnished brass and polished pane,
piped music. Artery, though, and vein
murmur that death is nigh.

And when the ennui endgame leaves us broke,
the nineteenth century will come again,
and cinch the river back into its yoke.
The mounting sun will light the factory gate,
upon the visage of the labouring folk

will rise the glow from the consumptive lung,
the scalded factory dog will moan,
the looms break into polyphonic song,
the shuttle snap back with its to-and-fro,
and wheels will claque along.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)


                    Светлане Ельницкой

Река валяет дурака
и бьет баклуши.
Электростанция разрушена. Река 
грохочет вроде ткацкого станка,
чуть-чуть поглуше.

Огромная квартира. Виден
сквозь бывшее фабричное окно
осенний парк, реки бурливый сбитень,
а далее кирпично и красно
от сукновален и шерстобитен.

Здесь прежде шерсть прялась,
сукно валялось,
река впрягалась в дело, распрямясь,
прибавочная стоимость бралась
и прибавлялась.

Она накоплена. Пора иметь
дуб выскобленный, кирпич оттертый,
стекло отмытое, надраенную медь,
и слушать музыку, и чувствовать аортой,
что скоро смерть.

Как только нас тоска последняя прошьет,
век девятнадцатый вернется
и реку вновь впряжет,
закат окно фабричное прожжет,
и на щеках рабочего народца

взойдет заря туберкулеза,
и заскулит ошпаренный щенок,
и запоют станки многоголосо,
и заснует челнок,
и застучат колеса. 

18 August 2013

On a Portrait of Me by my Son Dimitry / К моему портрету, нарисованному моим сыном Дмитрием

Lev Loseff with daughter Maria and son Dimitry, 1967
Лев Лосев с дочерью Марией и сыном Дмитрием, 1967

On a Portrait of Me by my Son Dimitry

My specs are taking leave of 
the frontiers of my face,
I’ve a pair of bright blue peepers,
and a nose of shape unclear,
while like a chocolate cataract
my flowing beard cascades –
I was never as attractive
as the way that I look here.

Fugitive strokes escaping,
running away in streaks,
and damp has made the paper
lose all its erstwhile shine,
while two big rosy patches
upon my chalky cheeks
fly over my moustaches
like flags with the Rising Sun.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)


К моему портрету, нарисованному моим сыном Дмитрием

Очки мои, покидающие
лица моего границы,
два светлосиреневых глаза,
очерк носа неясен,
водопадом из шоколада
вниз борода струится, -
наверное, никогда еще
не был я так прекрасен.

С бумаги струйки беглые
сбегают полосами,
от сырости бумага
совсем лишилась глянца,
а щеки мои белые,
как два японских флага,
и два больших румянца
восходят над усами.

30 July 2013

The Door / Дверь

Photo by Marianna Volkova / фото Марианны Волковой
Conversations with Joseph Brodsky, S. Volkov, Слово-Word, New York, 1997
Разговоры с Иосифом Бродским, С. Волков, Слово-Word, Нью-Йорк, 1997

The Door

(A Photograph by Marianna Volkova)

A sketch pinned up — a man in a burnous,
someone who’d ventured into torrid zones,
Dante perhaps, or Lawrence of Arabia.
Postcards: ‘The Tide Crashing against the Cliffs’,
‘Crest of the Hindu Kush’, ‘Gilgamesh-Enkidu’,
‘The Pyramids at Giza’ (no — still Dante),
‘The Ponte Vecchio’ (maybe the Rialto?),
‘A Doorknob’ — no, that isn't on a postcard.

Here lives a Mr Nobody.
                                        Not trusting doors,
he won’t just open up when someone rings,
instead, he’ll take a good look through the peephole,
then he’ll back off — no point in tempting fate.

The day will come, though, when he’ll pull the pins out,
write all the postcards quickly as he can,
on top scrawl ‘To St Nicholas of the Sea’,
sign with a flourish ‘From Your Gilgamesh’,
then jerk the doorknob in towards himself,
and there will stand The Guide, in white burnous,
canals, bridges, and pyramids behind him,
and the tide crashes against the cliffs, then settles,
fizzing, upon the snows of the Hindu Kush.

(Translation © G.S. Smith)


(фото Марианны Волковой)

Пришпилен рисунок: кто-то в бурнусе
из пускавшихся в раскаленные зоны,
то ли Данте, то ли Лоуренс Аравийский.
Открытки: «Прибой бьется о скалы»,
«Хребет Хиндукуш», «Гильгамеш и Энкиду»,
«Пирамиды в Гизе» (нет, все же Данте),
«Понте Веккьо» (или это Риальто?),
«Дверная ручка» — нет, ручка не на открытке.

Здесь живет Никто.
                                    Недоверчив к двери,
замка на звонок просто так не откроет,
сперва поглядит в смотровую дырку
да и отойдет от греха подальше.

Но настанет день — он повыдернет кнопки,
торопливо заполнит все открытки,
надпишет на каждой: «К Николе Морскому»,
подпишется расмашисто: «Твой Гильгамеш»,
рванет на себя дверную ручку,
а за дверью — Вожатый в белом бурнусе,
а за ним — каналы, мосты, пирамиды,
и бьется, и бьется прибой о скалы,
оседает, шипя, на снега Гиндукуша.

14 July 2013

An Excursion / Экскурсия

An Excursion

‘We’re here! Welcome to Sodom,’ calls our guide.
So down we get, look round; then we’re inside
a cinema. Men pleasuring themselves,
the smell of semen. Not one seat is free.
Gangbang and incest up there on the screen,
per rectum and per vulvum; gaping wide,
he goes for dogmeat, she dead human flesh.

The next stop on our trip is known as Hell.
Courthouse, recruiting office, rancid smell—
hydrogen sulphide fumes, smokestacked away
from a chemical plant above a putrid stream.
This is a place where blue sky’s never been.
Orange the fumes and dun the sunset pall.
Corpses riding a tram jostle and sway.

Voilà un garçon, Knabe, little lad.
On his way home from school, lip smudged with blood;
no vocab book, no pencil case, no satchel,
no cap, no hope, and no immortal soul.
His pencils float away, so very slow—
the green, the blue, the yellow, and the red—
on the waters of Hell’s boundary canal.

(Translation © GS Smith)


Вот наш водитель объявил: «Содом».
Сойдем. Осмотримся. Зайдем
в кинотеатр. Милуются мужчины,
и пахнет семенем. И нет свободных мест.
А на экране свалка и инцест,
седалищем, влагалищем и ртом
тот ест собачину, та просит мертвечины.

Вот едем дальше. Остановка «Ад».
Нарсуд. Военкомат. Химкомбинат.
Над дохлой речкой испускают трубы
смердящий сероводородом дым.
Здесь небо не бывает голубым.
Оранжев дым, закат коричневат.
В трамвае друг о дружку трутся трупы.

Voilà un garçon, ein Knabe, a boy.
Из школы с окровавленной губой,
без букваря, без ранца, без пенала,
без шапки, без надежды, без души.
Вот медленно плывут карандаши —
зеленый, желтый, красный, голубой —
водой Ад обводящего канала.

01 July 2013

Sitting on my Chair in the Month of July / Сидя на стуле в июле

Lev Loseff in his NH backyard with Philip Nikolayev and Katia Kapovich, ca. 2003, photo Alexei Tsvetkov

Sitting on my Chair in the Month of July

It’s one that stands facing a window.
July’s fresh-moulded ammunition
rat-tatting hard against the pane.
What made it set to shoot today?

These bumblebees, sun-overheated,
have had their orders: at my secrets
fly themselves in to point blank range,
make background buzz and covert gaze.

Wind, bees, and birds! Time for rampaging!
Read what I’ve written on these pages,
feel free to look under the bed –
there’s nothing I would wish to hide.

Root through the underwear and paper!
Why should we always learn from nature?
Let her now learn something from us,
so at our end we may peruse

the way we tried to teach her play, at
laughter and grief in alternation,
at games with checkers, games with cards –
wherein we have our special smarts.

(Translation © G.S. Smith 2013)

Сидя на стуле в июле

Перед окном сижу на стуле.
Июлем отлитые пули
увесисто стучат в окно. 

Чего их нынче допекло?

Шмелям, на солнце перегретым,
приказано к моим секретам
как можно ближе подлететь
и поджужжать, и подглядеть.

Валяйте, ветер, пчелы, птицы, 
читайте эти вот страницы,
заглядывайте под кровать –
не буду ничего скрывать.

Белье, бумаги переройте,
не все же нас учить природе,
пускай поучится у нас,
а мы в последний вспомним час,

как мы природу обучали
игре то смеха, то печали,
да в дурака, да в поддавки,
в чем мы особенно ловки. 

21 June 2013

Where the air is "roof-tile pink" / To Joseph: Self-translation

To Joseph

Where the air is "roof-tile pink,"
where lions are winged while birds
prefer stepping over the Piazza's flagstones
as if they were Germans or Japanese,
where cats can swim and walls can weep,
where the sun fumbles and drops around some morning gold
before testing the lagoon with its radiant elbow:
is the bath ready? –
there you got stuck, stayed and dissolved,
there you lounged in a cafe chair,
took a drag on your cigarette, froze, divided yourself in two,
floated off with a smoke ring, and –
go catch! – when you are everywhere,
now jingling with the porcelain
churches, now running with the breeze through a garden;
a defector, a man in a trenchcoat,
a jailbird on the run, you found a way
behind the looking glass,
disappeared at the crossing of parallel lines
leaving no footprints on water;
there you turned into a shabby tugboat,
into heavy mother-of-pearl clouds above murky canals,
in the coffee aroma of a Sunday morning,
where Sunday is tomorrow and tomorrow is always now.

May 1996

Rendered, from the Russian, by the author with John Kopper.

06 June 2013

Two More Reviews of 'As I Said' in English

Lev Loseff
translated by G. S. Smith
ARC Publications 
by Amy Henry
This bilingual collection of the poems of Lev Loseff begins with a preemptory acknowledgement, by series editor Jean Boase-Beier, of the difficulties of translating poetry, especially when a reader has no knowledge of the original language and thus might miss subtleties that the poet intended. As Boase-Beier puts it:
We know that translated poetry is neither English poetry that has mysteriously arisen from a hidden foreign source, nor is it foreign poetry that has silently rewritten itself in English. We are more aware that translation lies at the heart of all our cultural exchange; without it, we must remain artistically and intellectually insular.

With this in mind, both Russian and English versions are here provided “side-by-side because translations do not displace the originals; they shed new light on them and are in turn themselves illuminated by the presence of their source poems.” And translator G. S. Smith shows a similar attention to detail and attitude that goes beyond mere words: Smith was actually able to translate much of Loseff’s personality in the poems, as the two collaborated over the translations over a period of several years and Loseff gave his approval to the resulting works. Loseff, an editor himself who has translated Joseph Brodsky, guided Smith in some areas with comments and suggestions, but his firmest request was that the poems be presented in reverse chronological order. It was Smith who chose the poems for the collection, selecting those that had the best prospects for accurate translation.
Yet another scholar, Barry P. Scherr, contributes an introduction to Loseff that gives some essential biographical information, making the poems that much more compelling. Loseff was part of what was casually called the “philological school” of Russian poets; intensely familiar with and influenced by traditional Russian literature, he refers to his country’s most famous writers (e.g. Pasternak, Dostoevsky, and Pushkin) in many of his own poems. Besides this cultural expertise, Scherr notes that Loseff is also a poet of observation, one whose emotion “arises from contemplating the world outside the poet, rather than the writer’s most intimate thoughts.” Yet Loseff does reveal himself on his terms, subtly, and G.E. Smith picks up on such nuances.
“At the Clinic” for example, will strike many readers viscerally (here’s the full poem):
The doctor mumbled things about my kidneys,
and looked away. I pitied this MD.
For life to me had burst its inhibitions,
and now flowed heatedly and easily.
Diploma on the wall. MD. His awkward silence.
Hand scribbling out a slanting recipe.
While I'm astonished by this easy lightness—
so easy had the news turned out to be!
What happened to the demons that beset me?
I'm breathing easily, not like before.
I'll go and let them have some blood for testing,
and give a bit more blood to sign this poem.

A great deal is revealed in the poetic subtext: “Burst” and the phrase “flowed heatedly” contrast with the idea of ease. In fact, Loseff uses variances of “easy” four times in the poem’s three stanzas. At the conclusion, there’s a play on words in regard to blood—using both “give” and “let”—that indicates a sense of surrender despite the lightness he’s just described. Curiously, Loseff initially speaks of the “doctor” delivering the news, only to repeatedly call him “MD” afterwards. The usage on the facing page in Russian also uses a different word for doctor after the first, which made me curious if there was an aural play on words here, as “MD” in English sounds like “empty.” Does the Russian word Loseff used, Врач, also hint at another meaning?
A poem that reaches into Russian literary history is “The Blood Washed Off. The Axe Dumped in the River,” which seems to make a clear reference to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. While Raskolnikov stashed the axe rather than dumping it in the Neva, Loseff contrasts this murderer’s obsession over guilt (felt even before the murder occurred) and cleanliness with contemporary criminals, who “abandon axe and empty bottles by the body, mumble / when questioned, not bother washing off the blood.”
Throughout the collection, Smith’s translation beautifully captures a duality to the meanings. A phrase like “the river’s molten-honey seethe” in a poem about the death of a commercial area easily reminds the reader of the river Lethe and the feeling of forgetfulness. The layers are uncovered by Smith but never fully revealed—keeping Loseff an enigmatic poet whose work is destined for further study.

Warwick Review, December 2012, Ian Revie
Lev Loseff’s As I Said comes with a very enlightening introduction by Narry P. Scherr, Professor of Russian at Dartmouth College, which details the importance of rhythmic structures and sound patterns in the original Russian poems and underlines the challenges facing the translator attempting to render them in English. He present Loseff as very much a classicist and one whose roots, despite his long exile in the United States, remained firmly in his native city of Leningrad/St Petersburg?almost half his life was spent in New England. Loseff was himself a scholar and a specialist on Joseph Brodsky, to whom his indebtedness is obvious; but his poems are no means literary in their inspiration, as is clear in these excellent versions by G.S.Smith, Professor Emeritus of Russian at Oxford. Much of what Loseff writes arises from perception of the surrounding world whether immediate or remembered:
Awakened by an unexpected silence,
a sudden gift from heaven, white as white,
with indignation I reject?should say
indifference?the horrors of the night.
These lines give a fair idea od how the poet’s subject matter so often appears existing in the immediate present yet inextricably linked to dimensions of past time and imagination, for, as the second verse makes clear, it is of the nature of perception to be shaped by the roots of experience:
Vertically downwards, through the matted
Growing things that crowd my garden plot,
Here comes the God of atmospheric matters,
In order to disperse our parlous lot.
It is almost unnecessary to say that such roots inevitably touch matters political, for although almost all of Loseff’s work dates from his time in America, had had reached the age of 38 before leaving the USSR and therefore had lived with the suffocating presence of ideological conformity, or non-conformity and its consequences. In ‘Joseph in 1965’ he writes
Those Party activists were bloody-minded
enough to hound a flower for its fragrance
or a star for its twinkle.
From the poet they demanded
Poems “with civic resonance”.

and makes Brodsky’s period of enforced hard labour into an act of silence resistance:
He listened to his heart’s fading quake,
To the clamorous squawk of roots,
and mended those tatty roofs.
However, such roots are also deep n the fabric of Russian life in all its aspects. Towards the end of the volume, a long sequence, ‘The Extended Day and Other Memories’, begins with an evocation of a timeless Russia:
I see it clear: the dacha, the wild roses,
the wooden fence, the gate with rusted latch,
the shiny-wrinkled, baggy trousers;
I touch wood, superstitious as I am.
I see it clear: the samovar is fuming
like tsar or some high officer annoyed?
a colonel who’s been fuelled up with fircones,
and shakoed by a plume of lilac smoke.
So near, how out your hand and you can feel it,
And it is the immediacy with which the memory informs the present that seems to be the source of the power in Loseff’s work. This volume makes better known an undoubtedly major Russian poet to be placed alongside those greats who have unflinchingly borne witness to a troubled century, to the impossible love of a homeland from which one is exiled, and to lives lived with courage in the face of repression.

ORIGINAL HERE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/writingprog/warwickreview/dec2012/