Written in the Dark
Published by Ugly Duckling Presse
Written during the seige of Leningrad and intended to exist in striking contrast to state-sanctioned, heroic “Blockade” poetry in which the stoic body of the exemplary citizen triumphs over death, the poems gathered here show the Siege individual (blokadnik) as a weak and desperate incarnation of Job.
These poets wrote in situ about the famine, disease, madness, cannibalism, and prostitution around them—subjects so tabooed in those most-Soviet times that they would never think of publishing.
The formal ambition and macabre avant-gardism; of this uncanny body of work match its horrific content, giving birth to a “poor” language which alone could reflect the depth of suffering and psychological destruction experienced by victims of that historical disaster.
Polina Barskova, a Russian-language poet and scholar of the Siege, edited this volume from archival materials.