Time of Gratitude

Time of Gratitude


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A collection of extraordinary essays by one of the seminal Russian poets of the twentieth century

Gennady Aygi’s longtime translator and friend Peter France has compiled this moving collection of tributes dedicated to some of the writers and artists who sustained him while living in the Moscow “underground.” Written in a quiet intensely expressive poetic style, Aygi’s inventive essays blend autobiography with literary criticism, social commentary, nature writing, and enlightening homage. He addresses such literary masters as Pasternak, Kafka, Mayakovsky, Celan, and Tomas Tranströmer, along with other writers from the Russian avant-garde and his native Chuvashia. Related poems by Aygi are also threaded between the essays. Reminiscent of Mandelstam’s elliptical travel musings and Kafka’s intensely spiritual jottings in his notebooks, Time of Gratitude glows with the love and humanity of a sacred vocation. “These leaves of paper," Aygi says, 'are swept up by the whirlwind of festivity; everything whirls—from Earth to Heaven—and perhaps the Universe too begins to swirl. Everything flows together in the rainbow colors and lights of the infinite world of Poetry.'

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811227193
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 12/12/2017
Pages: 124
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Gennady Aygi (1934–2006) was born in a village in the Chuvash Republic, a land with a Turkic language, and eventually became the Chuvash national poet, later moving to Moscow. Like Platonov, he couldn’t publish his work in the Soviet Union until the 1980s. New Directions publishes his books Child-And-Rose and Field-Russia.

Peter France has published widely on French, Russian, and comparative literature. New Directions publishes his translations of Gennady Aygi.

Table of Contents

Translator's Preface vii

I Chuvashia and Russia

A Snowdrop in the Storm: On Mikhail Sespel 3

Henceforth (by Mikhail Sespel) 10

Everyday Miracle: Meetings with Boris Pasternak (1956-58) 11

Requiem before Winter 40

Leaves - Into a Festive Wind 41

Yes, Kruchonykh Himself, or The Least Known of the Most Famous 56

Krch - 80 62

Mayakovsky 63

In Honor of a Master 67

Kazimir Malevich 68

Massacre of a Silk Flag: On the Portraits of Vladimir Yakovlev 70

Two Poems for Vladimir Yakovlev 72

An Evening with Shalamov 74

Degree: Of Stability 81

II The Wider World

O Yes: Light of Kafka 84

For a Conversation about K. - To Olga Mashkova 94

Reading Norwid 95

Baudelaire 100

O Yes: The Smile of Max Jacob 101

René Char 104

Field: In the Full Blaze of Winter 108

On the Poetry of Tomas Tranströmer 109

For a Long Time: Into Whisperings and Rustlings 112

The Last Ravine (Paul Celan) 115

Notes 117

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