Five Poems from Anna Glazova Translated from Russian

These poems first appeared in Anna Glazova’s collection For the Shrew, which won the oldest independent literature award in Russia, the Andrey Bely Prize, in 2013. They have been translated from Russian by Alex Niemi.

Almost to the Other Side


he should’ve known,
who was pulled
to an empty point in the opaque glass.

a branch is smacking the roof somewhere in back.
he’s the one not looking but seeing the funneling of vision.

what now? get up if you can you have what you need.
don’t if you can’t feel the gnawing. someone is carried, another earns a limp,
one’s work reflects the memory of everything standing still.

(thin refugees seen

on an eternal ascent.

neither a bottle of water nor the right train awaits you.)

astride your own two legs on a hill;
another in dirty diapers by now
never learned enough
about the consequences of walking.


for Polina Barskova

in a space

formed by hungry dough

an eggshell
like a red house;

they gave us
this day,

“Who are we?

 Here to serve! Here to serve!”


a dark, damp impression
above the tremor above the joining
hands of a crossroads.

the rivers from before: here,
a dribble,
you resolved
to dive to the bottom and there
dry off
with a rustle.

(we were carried
by no more water
than a breath frozen in air
when you exhale,
yes, I’m all there, I want to spin
a rope, a hammock of this spider silk,
and lower, descend.)

and damp,
behind you, the hands turned

a stream brought us here,
upside down.

someone didn’t see
who saw
who heard.


of a full life

pear tree trunks dotted by yellow shadows,
dry roses and stalwart briar,
over the brook, they just barely hold on
to what should have been solid,
just barely held by singing, not wading birds —
as viscous water reaches
for their beaks and shining eyes — you won’t hold out.

joy. I won’t crumple in hand,
won’t peek into the snow-covered bud,
when flowers begin sharing their plucked rays of light with me,
I will stare so long into the sun, that everything else falls into shade.
strange walls rise,
maybe a conversation heard from the other side, and in the wind
my heart strikes like a clock.


woven from leftover string — something
worthless but whole. damp
boards, fine lacquer, a craft alone
is passed down, but a snow-bound sound is not for hearing.

the seen whirls,
the crude tune weighs heavy,
like depths spring from a well,
but it shines.

— no right to a voice or mouth,
lock, seal the lack of clarity
of what obviously happens nearby.

Photo by Denis Vahrushev via Creative Commons.

About the author

Anna Glazova is a poet, translator and independent scholar. She has published five books of poetry in Russian and received her PhD in German and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University (USA). She translates from German and English; among the authors she has translated are Franz Kafka, Unica Zürn, Walter Benjamin, and Emily Dickinson.

About the author

Alex Niemi is a writer, translator, and language instructor. Her poetry and translations from the French, Russian, and Spanish have appeared in The Offing, Anomaly, Prelude, and many other publications. Her translation from the French of The John Cage Experiences by Vincent Tholomé is forthcoming from Autumn Hill Books while her first chapbook of original poetry, Elephant, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. She currently teaches Russian at the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and received her MFA in Literary Translation.

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