cover image Endarkenment: Selected Poems

Endarkenment: Selected Poems

Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, edited by Eugene Ostashevsky and trans. from the Russian by Ostashevsky et. al.. Wesleyan Univ., $26.95 (172p) ISBN 978-0-8195-7392-6

Russian experimental poet Dragomoshchenko (1946-2012) wrote in an elliptical, self-referential style that was generally at odds with the more established formal poetry of his peers. Luckily, he formed lasting relationships with like-minded American poets, such as Lyn Hejinian, who translated and championed his work abroad. Here, Ostashevsky assembles an essential volume of previously un-translated poems%E2%80%94with interpretations by six translators placed alongside their Russian originals%E2%80%94spanning over three decades of innovation. In tackling larger themes of mortality and temporality, Dragomoshchenko wrestles with the capability of language itself. In "Paper Dreams," for instance, "Death/ has no name%E2%80%94it is only a list,/ the spilling over of the two-way mirror,/ where the equal sign is rubbed away." Elsewhere, in the series "Nasturtium as Reality," images of the flower both enliven and obfuscate a shifting matrix of signification and memory, occupying "[a] position of equilibrium. A parenthesis, which one doesn't want to close." What arises is a poetics that, in the vein of Wallace Stevens, explores ambiguity and does not reveal itself so much as dance at the edges of meaning, residing "in the location between the glimmering and what lies below." Bilingual Edition. (Jan.)