Tuesday, May 22, 2012

News at Eleven: Drawn to cemeteries, where she honors dead poets

like Anna Akhmatova, [Polina] Barskova is fascinated and repelled by suffering: homeless people, concentration camps, war. There is an element of self-consciousness in her intimate poetic discussions of these topics: "Susie Sontag's writing about war," she writes in "The New Iliad," "It'd be good for me as well, I guess . . . ," but "I cannot. I'd like to--I cannot." Later in the poem she asks: "My Patroclus, tell me, what shall I do/In this resplendent tent . . . ?" The poet compares herself to the great warrior Achilles, who spends much of Homer's Iliad sulking in his tent and refusing to take part in the Trojan War.

from Russia Beyond the Headlines: Is poetry always Lost in Translation?


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