NTA Longlist: I Burned at the Feast by Arseny Tarkovsky, trans. by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev (Cleveland State University Poetry Center)

I Burned at the Feast
by Arseny Tarkovsky
translated from the Russian by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev
(Cleveland State University Poetry Center)

Tarkovsky.SPD.jpgThis volume offers a generous selection of Arseny Tarkovsky’s poetry from early post-Revolution Moscow through the late 1970s. Written in conversation with his contemporaries Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam, Arseny Tarkovsky’s short lyrics and longer sequences offer a spiritual chronicle of life during the Second World War and in communist Russia. In Tarkovsky’s imaginary, the poet is “scyther, psalmist, and carpenter prince,” winnowing, strumming, and hammering lines into song amid the whirlwind of history. Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev balance formal rigor and and plain-spoken ardor in their translations, which poet Ilya Kaminsky has praised for their “attentiveness that is akin to . . . prayer.” 

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