Larissa Miller is one of Russia's most highly-regarded writers — novelist, essayist and poet — and this selection from her collection Between the Cloud and the Pit (1999) spans her poetic output from the 1960s to the millennium. Guests of Eternity is a presentation, in chronological order, of poems written (but not published) in the three decades preceding glasnost' as well as the final decade of the twentieth century.
Here are political poems from the '70s and '80s which speak openly about the horrors of the Soviet system, others which comment directly on purges and torture, and yet more which convey the struggle to grow and mature with one's soul intact in a world of suffering. Yet throughout this book, as Sasha Dugdale points out in her introduction, there are moments of hope, of a spiritual — even religious — dimension that afford glimpses of a transcendent world and bring peace of mind to the beleaguered soul.
Larissa Miller is a consummate technician, combining simple words with complicated and intricate rhythms to produce apparently effortless poetry which succeeds in elevating the ordinary and commonplace to a higher plane. Described by her translator Richard McKane as 'a poet of all seasons, not only of the natural world, but of the soul', Larissa Miller writes with an intensity and a lyricism that is compelling, mesmerising and unforgettable.
"Richard McKane's clear, eloquent translations reveal poetry of extraordinary power. Even the briefest phrase can be radiant with the possibilities of 'the
Alison Brackenbury, Poetry Review
Translated by Richard McKane
Introduced by Sasha Dugdale
Visible Poets series no. 23
PBS RECOMMENDED TRANSLATION WINTER 2008