Poetry at the Post, Day 19: Chuvash Poet, Gennady Aygi

“Five Matryoskas”by Gennady Aygi, as translated by Sarah Valentine

Russian-Matroshka Dolls  CC BY-SA 3.0
Russian-Matroshka Dolls
CC BY-SA 3.0

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

And, an interview with Sarah Valentine by Tim Johnson on Marfa Public Radio:
http://marfapublicradio.org/blog/talk-at-ten/a-conversation-with-poet-and-translator-sarah-valentine/

Some great photos of the people of the Chuvash Republic:

Poetry at the Post, Day 17: Gone to Ghana with Kwesi Brewe

“The Search” by Kwesi Brewe

The past
Is but the cinders
Of the present;

The future

The smoke

That escaped

Into the cloud-bound sky.

2010 Opening Ceremony - Ghana entering CC BY 2.0v Jude Freeman
2010 Opening Ceremony – Ghana entering
CC BY 2.0v
Jude Freeman

Ghanaian poet, Kwesi Brewe (1928 – 2007), was a poet-diplomat in the tradition of a long line of poets from Chaucer to Octavio Paz.

“The Search” suggests for me life’s journey on the pathway for truth and wisdom. I find interest in this intersection of philosophy and religion, the East and the West:

When wise men become silent,
It is because they have read
The palms of Christ
In the face of Buddha.

Yes, there is “rain” in this poem. It’s as if my subconscious is witching for water. It is hot and dry in the West Texas desert. We await the rain.

http://www.poetryfoundationghana.org/index.php/en/miscellanous-poems/item/265-the-search

Here’s some Sunday inspiration: “Fefeefe” by Gifty Osei

Today’s post is dedicated to my friends who will be teaching in Ghana next year.

Poetry at the Post, Day 16: ISTANBUL & “Thus Bare Shoulder’d”

“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.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Flora And Zephyr (1875)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) – Flora And Zephyr (1875)

…be it yours
these crystal fingers thus bare shoulder’d be it yours this this rose-
leaved temple.

You can read the poem here: http://www.turkishpoetry.net/gulseliinal.htm

cc-by-sa-2.5 gittim gezdim muazzam yapmışlar böyle bir güzellik hiç görmemiştik
cc-by-sa-2.5 gittim gezdim muazzam yapmışlar böyle bir güzellik hiç görmemiştik

#instanbul2014thiswillbegrand