About the BookA Russian poet now living in Germany reflects on exile, authoritarianism, the meaning of home (and homeland), and the perilousness of life in a "stony eternity."
Book SynopsisPolonskaya's second book with Zephyr reflects unflinchingly upon themes of exile and the anguish it can cause, home, war, authoritarianism, and personal relationships. Trains and ships figure in many poems, but their overall trajectory take us to the edge of a precipice: of loss, separation, death, and mortality. The award-winning poet lives in Germany because of threats she received in Russia after writing poems of political dissent, including poems for Kursk: An Oratorio Requiem, about the 2000 sinking of the Russian submarine. Those oratorio poems were included in Paul Klee's Boat, published by Zephyr in 2013, and short-listed for both the 2014 PEN Poetry in Translation Award and the 2014 Best Translated Book Award. This bilingual edition of To the Ashes will allow English-speaking and Russian readers to read Polonskaya's latest work, as she can no longer publish her poetry in her native country.
About the AuthorAnzhelina Polonskaya has published several books of poems and short stories. She was awarded the Words on Border Freedom Prize in Norway in September 2016. Her first book in English, A Voice (Northwestern Univ. Press) was shortlisted for the 2005 Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation. In 2011, the "Oratorio-Requiem" Kursk, whose libretto consists of ten of her poems, was premiered at the Melbourne Arts Festival. Those poems appear in her collection, Paul Klee's Boat, translated by Andrew Wachtel (Zephyr, 2013), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award and the 2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Polonskaya began writing poetry seriously at the age of 17, while training to be, and then employed as, a professional ice dancer. She has participated in numerous writing residencies and festivals, and her poems have been published in leading publications, including World Literature Today, Descant, Poetry Review UK, The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Prairie Schooner.