Elena Fanailova’s poems take on topics ranging from the pleasures and disasters of daily life to political spectacle and aesthetic triumph. They push to new limits a longstanding trend in Russian poetry of introducing more conversational and colorful language into traditional verse. Her poems show that she knows a considerable amount about poetry’s history, and she puts that knowledge to work in poems that hold up to Russia the mirror of its own past and present. Anyone who wants to know why poetry still matters, or who wants to know about life in post-Soviet Russia, should read her work.
Elena Fanailova’s most recent book is The Russian Version (Russkaia versiia, 2006), which includes examples of her prose (art reviews and interviews) as well as much new poetry. Formerly a doctor and teacher of art and psychology in Voronezh, she is now a correspondent for Radio Liberty in Moscow. In 1999, Fanailova received the Andrei Bely Prize, one of the most coveted of Russia’s literary awards.
Stephanie Sandler is Ernest E. Monrad Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. Her current work focuses on contemporary Russian poetry, including essays on individual poets and a book in progress, Breaking Down the Walls: Russian Poetry Since 1972.
Genya Turovskaya was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1973. Her original poetry and translations from Russian have appeared in such publications as Chicago Review, Conjunctions, and Aufgabe. She lives in Brooklyn, where she is an editor of the Eastern European Poets Series at Ugly Duckling Presse.