Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mikhail Aizenberg

Today I'd like to focus on Mikhail Aizenberg--his chapbook Less Than a Meter is incredible. It's got Russian on one side and the English translation on the other. He is a master of atmosphere, and I couldn't stop reading his work [you can buy his books here].

His work in "WHO AM I TALKING TO?" [page 19] creeps down into you slowly, reminding me of Pound's eerie way of making you feel disconnected with the ancients and modernity in the same moment. I tried to find a line to excerpt from it, but you really have to read it in order. By the end there's a chill in the air. It's incredible.

I especially loved his lines from "DOMESTIC GRAFFITI", it's just like that cold, cool room in La Dolce Vita when the mentor plays his recordings of rain and nature sounds, or the old stone of the outdoor areas of L'année dernière à Marienbad:

.... in the courtyard. Together
light and thunder stalk our savage nights.
Light and thunder fling our windows open.

And then in another poem, I love this as an evocation of Vietnam actually. It's titled with just the first line [as with Shakespeare, in the old convention]:

The birds are silent.
A heavy shadow in a smoke-obscured thicket.

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