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New Russian Poetry in Jacket Magazine

The new issue of Jacket has an interesting anthology of new Russian poets. It’s edited by Peter Golub, who sets out his goals for the section in his introduction, which begins with a great disclaimer:

The faults of the anthology before you are clear: 1) it is an anthology, 2) it is an anthology of translations. [. . .]

With that said, let me briefly introduce this anthology, which attempts to represent the young Russians who are challenging and changing the field of contemporary Russian poetry. Nearly all the poets in this anthology are in their 20s or 30s, and many have never been translated before.

These poets are both the catalysts and the products of a paradigm shift in Russian letters. They came of age when the traditional institutions of the Soviet Union no longer existed or when these institutions were undergoing heavy revision during perestroika.

The rest of his intro is actually more interesting, discussing the issue of “sincere speech” in poetry after the Conceptualists and in a post-Soviet Russia before explaining why he chose certain poets:

These literary generations are not biological, but constructed by young writers in order to separate themselves from the dominant groups in the field. And, of course, it is clear that just because many young poets declare themselves members of the new generation does not mean that others do not choose to align themselves with the traditional camp.

However, 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.

Number of interesting looking pieces in here (way too many to list), translated by some great translators (like J. Kates and Matvei Yankelevich, Chris Mattison, and Vitaly Chernetsky). Very cool that Jacket published this, and definitely worth checking out.



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