Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Let’s Hurry

Let’s Hurry

by Maxim Amelin

translated by Derek Mong and Anne O. Fisher

Let’s hurry

to grace this meager table

with red tomatoes

and stacks of melon wedges,

with onions

and dill, with parsley and peppers,

with garlic and goose-pimpled

cucumbers. Let the oil,


as sunlit amber, glimmer.

It’s time to slice

black bread, to strew salt


Let’s offer bottles full

of wine and tipple

till they’re gone. How pleasant

to placate

our palates and sup with taste!

We won’t give up,

we won’t give in to autumn,

not a bit.

For God, the Creator of All,

likes naughty lovers

far more than dreary doubters.

Maxim Amelin is he one of the most brilliant of all contemporary Russian poets. I first heard about him while listening to an interview with the Russian poet Vera Pavlova where she praised Amelin lavishly. 

Poet, critic, editor, and translator, Maxim Amelin is among the last generation of Russian poets to grow up in the Soviet Union, or as the poet Aleksei Tsvetkov wrote in Poetry Magazine: “those in the thirty- to forty-year-old range… the children of perestroika―or one should say the orphans, since their alleged mother went missing long ago” (February 2008). The recipient of numerous national awards, including the Moscow Reckoning Award, the Anti-Booker, the Novyi Mir Prize, and the Bunin Prize, his work has been translated into over a dozen languages. In 2013 Amelin won the prestigious Solzhenitsyn Prize for his contributions to Russian poetry. 

A loving collector of neologisms and a devoted student of Revolutionary word-smithing (like Mayakovsky), Amelin keeps his poetry in suspension through a tension of opposites. He writes of bodily pleasures while musing on the body’s resurrection.

This poem is such a pleasure to read that I felt the pulse of running around and setting the table to host a party. Its accelerating pace is frenetic as the title itself. What a pleasure to read such a lively verse in these depressing times! It has amazing oomph and alacrity. And that line, 'we won’t give in to autumn' sums up the spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment