Field-Russia

Gennady Aygi, Author, Peter France, Translator
Gennady Aygi, Author, Peter France, Translator New Directions Publishing Corporation $15.95 (171p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1721-7
Reviewed on: 10/01/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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Aygi (1934-2006) was born in the Soviet Chuvash Repuplic, now Chuvashia, a part of the Russian federation. According to the warm and informative afterword by translator France, Aygi composed in chapbook-length series of poems; following Child-and-Rose, this fourth Aygi release in English collects two of those lyric series: the three-part title piece, ""Field-Russia,"" written between 1979-1982, and a shorter series titled ""Time of Ravines,"" written between 1982-1984. Those two pieces are magisterial in their haunted longing to connect with the past, and with nature: ""as if to breathe-and-pass-through/ in flight - with gratitude to earth."" Those poems are bookended by the extended interview with Aygi (conducted in writing in 1985) that opens the collection, and by a short poetic series and short prose piece that are dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg and Paul Celan, respectively. While readers wait for a collected edition of Aygi's work in English, this look at one of his major modes of the 1980s broadens our understanding of a major 20th century writer.
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