Anzhelina Polonskaya came to the fore of Russian’s poetry scene in the 1990s, and remains one its freshest voices. Her poetry frequently investigates themes of loss, separation, exile, memory and miscommunication, perhaps most profoundly in her ten-poem cycle, “Kursk: An Oratorio Requiem,” which was written in response to the sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine in 2000, and which is included in this collection. Australian composer David Chisholm commissioned the poems to be the libretto for his composition of the same name, which was premiered at the 2011 Melbourne Music Festival.
Polonskaya began to write poems seriously at the age of eighteen. Between 1995 and 1997 she lived in Latin America, working as a professional ice dancer. Her first book of verses Svetoch Moi Nebesny (My Heavenly Torch) appeared in 1993. In 1998, the Moscow Writer’s Publishing House published her second book, entitled Verses. Since 1998, she has been a member of the Moscow Union of Writers. In 1999, her book The Sky in a Private’s Eye was published. In September 1999, this book was presented at the First International Festival of Poets in Moscow, and, in October 1999, at an international poetry festival/conference at Northwestern University (Chicago, USA). In 2002, her book Golos (A Voice) was published in Moscow, and in 2003, Polonskaya became a member of the Russian PEN-centre. In 2004, an English version of her book, entitled A Voice, appeared in the acclaimed “Writings from an Unbound Europe” series at Northwestern University Press.
Andrew Wachtel is the president of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Previously he was dean of The Graduate School and director of the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of numerous publications, he is also a translator from Russian, Bosnian/Croation/Serbian and Slovene. He translated Anzhelina Polonskaya’s previous collection, A Voice (Northwestern UP, 1995).
Paul Klee's Boat, by Anzhelina Polonskaya
Paul Klee's Boat
Translated from Russian by Andrew Wachtel
ISBN 978-0-9832970-7-9 (paper)
5.25 x 8
- 2016 Words on Borders´ Freedom Prize
- 2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation Finalist
- 2014 Best Translated Book Awards Finalist
- shortlisted for the 2005 Corneliu Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation A Voice
Paul Klee’s Boat, Anzhelina Polonskaya’s [latest book], is an emotional journey through the bleakest seasons of the human soul, translated with great nuance by Andrew Wachtel… a vital addition to the contemporary poetry canon, a collection as interesting as it is touching that will inevitably be remembered for years to come. [full review]
—Will Evans, Three Percent