Books for Independent Thinkers 
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Published by The Emma Press

ISBN: 9781910139806

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In Carol Rumens's Bezdelki, small things like the English meaning of her Russian title help to shore up the memory of a life. These elegies for a late partner, written in memory of Yuri Drobyshev, explore the principle that death, even for atheists, isn't purely loss. Instead, a kind of conversation between two people can be continued through willed acts of memory, whether by rooting through incidental artefacts found in a toolbox ('defiant old metals, coupled/irrefutably and awkwardly for life') or by revisiting works of Russian literature that both members of the couple admired. There is a tender goodbye in a hospital, but also the sensual matter of life: yoghurt spoons, stock cubes and duck paté. In Rumens's pamphlet, translations and imitations of Osip Mandelstam share space with fragments of Egyptian mythology and 'a wardrobe of old sweat-shirts' to convey the powerful, and moving, impulse to 'live with your death unburied at my core'.
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