Gennady Aygi

Gennady Aygi (1934–2006), one of the most original of modern Russian poets, was born in the village of Shaymurzino, in the Chuvash Autonomous Republic, some 450 miles east of Moscow. His father was a village schoolteacher, his maternal grandfather a priest of the ancient Chuvash religion. Although he wrote mainly in Russian, he eventually became the national poet of Chuvashia, having published volumes of Chuvash poetry, translations from French, Polish, Russian and other languages, and an Anthology of Chuvash Poetry.

Expelled from the Gorky Literary Institute for his links with Pasternak, Aygi found a society of like-minded artists in the creative Moscow underground. For ten years he worked at the Mayakovsky Museum, organizing exhibitions of modern art, but generally he led a life of poverty, constantly harassed by officialdom; only with the advent of perestroika did he begin to be published in the Soviet Union and to accept numerous invitations to travel to the West. But from the 1960s onwards his Russian-language poetry was published and acclaimed throughout the world, being translated into more than twenty languages. Living mainly in Moscow, he was married four times and left seven children.

Time of Gratitude

Nonfiction by Gennady Aygi

Translated from the Russian by Peter France

Gennady Aygi’s longtime translator and friend Peter France has compiled this moving collection of tributes dedicated to some of the writers and artists who sustained him while living in the Moscow “underground.” Written in a quiet intensely expressive poetic style, Aygi’s inventive essays blend autobiography with literary criticism, social commentary, nature writing, and enlightening homage. He addresses such literary masters as Pasternak, Kafka, Mayakovsky, Celan, and Tomas Tranströmer, along with other writers from the Russian avant-garde and his native Chuvashia.…
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Field Russia

Poetry by Gennady Aygi

Translated from the Russian by Peter France

Lifelong Aygi translator and friend Peter France wrote in The Guardian: “Aygi wrote from a deep awareness of the losses and destructions of the 20th century.” Field-Russia is a book of poems arranged shortly before Aygi’s death, which in his view occupied a central place in his work. The collection opens with an informal conversation about poetry, and is followed by a series of little lyric “books”—Field-Russia, Time of the Ravines, and Final Departure—that form a part of Aygi’s “life-book.…
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Child-And-Rose

Poetry by Gennady Aygi

Translated by Peter France

Child-And-Rose is a special collection of poems and prose chosen and arranged by Gennady Aygi and his translator, Peter France. Taking its central themes of childhood, sleep, and silence in relation to poetic creation, the book is divided into five sections: “Veronicas Book” (a cycle of poems about the first six months of his daughter’s life), “Sleep-And-Poetry,” “Before and After the Book,” “Silvia’s World,” and “Poetry-As-Silence”––all written between 1972 and 2002.…
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