I find it ironic that the book of my poetry should appear in the
country of my birth in the form of translations. But this is true only
on a superficial level. Language, as far as I am concerned, is
circumstantial evidence; it is an imperfect tool which translates our
spirit into the currency of words. If one is to regard language as the
measure, then, I am an English poet. Spiritually, however, I feel
closer to the Russian poetic tradition.
Language is squeemish and does not tolerate impurities. Spirit,
however, is a liberal and stands for multiple varieties of mutations.
And that is
exactly what I consider my poetry – a mutation of English words and the
Russian spirit. Due to the details of my biography, I started to write
poetry in the English language, simply because that was the sound I
heard outside myself. If I had lived in France, instead of America, I
would have written in French. Language – like any currency – is
substitutable. The spirit, though, is our essence – we can neither
spare it nor change it and it speaks not in words but in deeds, which
usually need no translation.
Speaking of the latter, I would like to express my gratitude to the
translators, Vladimir Gandelsman and Nodar Djin,
who found it possible to suppress squeamishness and selfishness within
their hearts and undertook the effort of dabbling in someone else's
spiritual gambles and struggles with Time. That is, after all what
poetry is: a poet’s struggle with Time. I sincerely hope, that the
reader will, upon reading some of these poems, not always judge in
favor of Time.
I would also like to thank Nodar Djin, my father, not only as the
translator but as someone who has made the above-mentioned details of
my biography easier to bear. His life and his writing clearly showed me
that no matter where you are and what language you speak, your spirit
or your soul is the only commodity worth guarding because
without it or with it i n a
compromised form, you become a sum of interdependent, but more often,
At the risk of sounding like a Hollywood starlet about to accept an
award, I would also like to thank my mother, Zina Baazova, for her
support and abundant tolerance which is a requisite when dealing with
another human being.
With gratitude and love, I dedicate this book to my parents.