Into the Snow
By Gennady Aygi
Translated by Sarah Valentine
Wave Books, 2011
128 pages / $16 Buy from Wave Books
“Sidelined in a mass-media, technology-driven culture, the American poet seems to have a slim chance of connecting with an audience, and even less of a chance to effect large-scale change through poetry. But elsewhere in the world many poets…continue to write poetry at the risk of losing their lives and livelihoods. For them poetry is an ethical act, an act of humanity, regardless of the cost.”
– translator Sarah Valentine, in her Introduction to Gennady Aygi’s Into the Snow
Gennady Aygi’s collection of poems all speak of simple people and minimal places. Most involve a specific location, like a clearing or a forest. The simplicity is an illusion that he skillfully employs to challenge the reader to see more. The metaphors are powerful in their simplicity: as Aygi describes a “clearing in the field,” we may first imagine a meadow, but it could be that he’s referring to a transformation in the political climate—moving us from a tangible location to an intangible concept.