This Lamentable City

This Lamentable City by Polina Barskova, translated by Ilya Kaminsky and others. Tupelo Press, 2010.

I was deeply impressed with this slight volume packed with sensual, visceral language that borders often on the grotesque. It is startling, rhythmically potent work that uses lines and enjambment to great effect, something I often find lacking in contemporary poetry both in original-language and in translation. Here, the English of the (collaborative) translation works carefully with rhythm and sound, but without drowning out the accent, those slips and strangenesses that indicate this is a work from a different context entirely. This is not naturalized or domesticated, not homogenized into the English standards of poetry. Incantatory, absorbing and very impressive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.