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. Related poems by Aygi are also threaded between the essays. Reminiscent of Mandelstam's elliptical travel musings and Kafka's intensely spiritual jottings in his notebooks, Time of Gratitude glows with the love and humanity of a sacred vocation. "These leaves of paper," Aygi says, 'are swept up by the whirlwind of festivity; everything whirls--from Earth to Heaven--and perhaps the Universe too begins to swirl. Everything flows together in the rainbow colors and lights of the infinite world of Poetry.'
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Warmth and passion infuse a collection of poetry and prose...A well-chosen introduction to the artistic and spiritual forces that shaped a poet.
This collection of poetry and verse-infused prose from the celebrated Russian and Chuvash poet bows to the writers and artists who kept him creatively inspired during the Soviet era.--Bret Stephens"New & Noteworthy" (12/16/2017)
A collection of essays and poems inspired by a life in art, Aygi's work is impressive in its international scope and deep devotion to the ideal of a poetry...His own included poems are both simple and striking, showing that he belongs in the company of the authors about whom he writes.--Time of Gratitude
Aygi's vision is essentially ecstatic, even slavific. It was Aygi who referred to the free-verse lyric as 'a kind of unrepeatable temple.' His verse constitutes an argument for aesthetic and affective scale, a lyric ripple or tremor in the fabric of the language and the sensual life: individual, collective, planetary....-- (12/16/2017)