“Five Matryoskas”by Gennady Aygi, as translated by Sarah Valentine
3 with an idea
You surround us
as with silk
When I was a child I had a set of Russian Matryoshka Dolls. I’m not sure who gave them to me, or whatever happened to them but I used to love playing with these wooden dolls, nesting and un-nesting them. Who knows? Perhaps these little dolls were the spark that guided me to major in Russian.
“Gennady Aygi (1934-2006) is widely considered to be one of the great avant-garde poets from the former Soviet Union.” The starkness of his poetry attracts me. In “Five Matryoshkas, a poem inspired by the birth of Aygi’s son, we begin in the center of the nest and move outward—in a series of five fragmentary moments. Each section is like each doll in itself—complete.
Here’s a video of Sarah Valentine reading a selection of Aygi’s poems:
Into The Snow, Selected Poems of Gennady Aygi, Translated by Sarah Valentine, Wave Books, 2011
“Thus Bare Shoulder’d” by Gülseli İnal, as translated by Sebnem Susam
Pale and forgetful I was
returning from the lands of rain on my wings raindrops… which had fought with Zephyr
Yes, I am dreaming about rain in the hot desert and in this poem I found myself in the middle of a myth, a dream, the fairies. I could sense the wind—from the west, the raindrops. I felt the magic, the story.
…be it yours
these crystal fingers thus bare shoulder’d be it yours this this rose-