Monday, June 01, 2009

New Russian Poetry at Jacket

Привет. Jacket Magazine 36 devotes a substantial chunk of space to new Russian poetry in translation, compiled by Russian poets and translators Peter and Tatyana Golub. In a preferatory essay, Peter Golub explains,

I selected the great majority of the poets in this anthology because they belong to the category of newcomers who are not disposed to enter the cycle of simple reproduction, i.e. to recognize the old hallowed literature and do likewise. Many of these poets bring with them dispositions that clash with prevailing norms and expectations.

The poets he chooses are in their 20s and 30s. What marks this generation of poets, Golub argues, is that they "cannot simply resist the dominant field, because the dominant field no longer consists of official Soviet literature, but of legitimate literary figures like Osip Mandelshtam, Gennady Aigi, and Joseph Brodsky, and living writers like Kolya Baitov, Evgeny Rein, and Elena Schwartz." The younger poets' "task is to add new space to the existing field, to carefully balance respect for the older authors and also to challenge the establishment with a call for new literature. This means playing by the rules of the field, and facing competition from its established figures, while trying to be catalysts of change."

In addition to the poems in translation -- and I will leave you to discover the young Russian poets yourselves -- Jacket's special feature includes a handy list of links to organizations promoting new Russian literature, including Argo-Risk projects and press and Interpoezia bilingual poetry quarterly, as well as an interview with Russian literary scholar and editor Mikhail Aizenberg, and essays on poets Anastasia Afanasieva and Nina Iskrenko.