Translated by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler
Introduction by Aleksandr Skidan
Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010
Reviewed by Katie Eberhart
The fine thing about Elena Fanailova’s book The Russian Version is getting a poet's view of Russia in recent years. In this bilingual collection of poems time passes and some things change, and some only shift. Themes which demand attention are the presence of doubles and how both structure of the poems and the poet's interests change. Fanailova has a keen eye for details of story and scene, but also the even more complex terrain of motivations and dreams in a place where even the dead are denied peace (even from those who were closest to them). The second part of the poem The Land of the Dead (a poem in four parts from the work With Particular Cynicism, 1998-1999) begins:
...A willow sprouted from her grave.
A year later it cracked the tomb apart to the rose-colored stars.
Its roots grew through her ribs and entwined her heart.
But father took an axe and a saw
Pried out the root and chopped down the stalk.