by Gennady Aygi
Translated from the Russian 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. Gennady Aygi is widely regarded as one the world’s foremost contemporary poets; his work has been translated into some twenty languages. In the late 1950s, Aygi was urged by Boris Pasternak and Nazim Hikmet to switch from writing in his mother tongue, Chuvash, to Russian. It was not until the 1960s that he was first published in Eastern Europe, and not until the late 1980s that his poems were allowed to be openly published in the Soviet Union and Chuvashia, an autonomous republic in the middle Volga valley where he was born in 1934. Images of Aygi’s Chuvash homeland––fields, forests, oaks, snow, birches, ravines––mingle amidst a disrupted syntax, astonishing turns, gaps, and suspensions that all speak to a quiet stillness of being. In Child-And-Rose, a rare, extraordinary spiritual communion with the world is made possible through poetry.