Gossip and Metaphysics: Russian Modernist Poems and Prose

Excerpt from the Introduction by Katie Farris

If you were to read this volume in one sitting, you might be overwhelmed by the clatter of voices—Kharms bellowing into the darkness, Akhmatova grinding her syllables out against the walls of the Soviet prison that held her son, Tsvetaeva gasping and stuttering her way toward a self-contradictory, paradoxical truth—all speaking to and for and about imagery, meter, history, truth, logos, and one another… like sitting down late to a poets’ dinner in the kitchen of a Russian restaurant, with conversation and vodka-drinking well underway. This book reads a little messy, a little antagonistic. Some conversations have begun long ago and there’s no one there to help catch you up; some end abruptly when someone or other leaves to smoke a cigarette or salt the soup. What keeps you there is the heady and unmistakable knowledge that you are in the proximity of genius.


“As a whole, “Gossip and Metaphysics: Russian Modernist Poems and Prose” gives us an inside look at what it means to be a poet in a society undergoing cataclysmic upheaval and change. In these pages we find unassailable courage coupled with the dizzying beauty of uncensored expression, reminding us that the creative force is a generative force which imparts energy to all that is humane and essential. The nine voices featured in this elegant volume serve as a bold template for anyone who would speak truth to power in any country in any age.” — Sonja James, “Russian Modernist Anthology Showcases Greatest Generation,” The Journal


© Copyright Katie Farris