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In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era is a Russian and English bilingual edition of thirty-two contemporary poets writing amidst the upheaval of the Russian 1990s. The collection conveys a sense of the profound freedom and energy of a unique moment in Russian history, as well as the diversity of experience in the years before and since. Edited by poet and translator J. Kates and with a foreword by poet Mikhail Aizenberg, the collection includes poems written long before 1990 but which could not be published, and those of more recent vintage. These thirty-two poets represent a phenomenal range of styles and perspectives. Beginning with the poet and popular songwriter Bulat Okudzhava, who started accompanying his poems on his guitar in the 1950s, the anthology includes poets whose work is deeply rooted in established conventions, avant gardists experimenting with new forms, and adherents of Russian free verse.

In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era [PB]

  • In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era
    Edited by J. Kates
    ISBN 0-939010-56-9 (paper)
    6 x 9
    444 pages
    Cover painting by Eric Bulatov
    118 poems by 32 contemporary poets
    Bilingual on facing pages
    Annotated for the general reader
    Introduction and afterword on translation by J. Kates
    Biographical notes on poets and translators

  • In the Grip of Strange Thoughts is an enjoyable and admirable work. Its thirty-two poets show a tremendous thematic and stylistic range, but are united in their feeling for the vitality of language.
    —The Times Literary Supplement


    This book is an absolute gift to students and lovers of poetry.
    British East-West Journal, September 1999


    Kates's commentary on various approaches to translating Russian poetry will be especially illuminating to the anglophone readers for whom the volume is intended. With its range of reverberating voices, the present title will be welcomed by Russian- and English-speaking readers of contemporary poetry.
    —N. Tittler, Choice, October 1999


    It is exceedingly rare to come across a collection of contemporary Russian poetry, and even more so with the original in Cyrillic en face. Taking up In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era is just such an experience, and not less so given the quality of the translations.
    —Publishers Weekly, February 1999


    The range of subject and of mood is as great as that of style, and printing the Russian originals as well as the translations increases the potential audience for the book and lets English-only readers see when rhymed Russian becomes unrhymed English.
    —Ray Olson, Booklist, March 1999

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