A collection of extraordinary essays by one of the seminal Russian poets of the twentieth century
Gennady Aygi's longtime translator and friend Peter France has compiled this moving collection of tributes dedicated to some of the writers and artists who sustained this great Russian poet through the hardships of a dark age. Composed from the 1960s into the early 1990s, the pieces in Time of Gratitude intersperse poems with a verse-infused prose of Aygi's own imagination—a quiet, intensely expressive, essayistic style that blends autobiography with literary criticism, social commentary, nature writing, and enlightening homage. Aygi addresses such literary masters as Pasternak, Mayakovsky, Celan, and Tranströmer.
Time of Gratitude is reminiscent of Mandelstam’s elliptical musings in Journey to Armenia or Kafka's intensely spiritual jottings in his notebooks. "These leaves of paper," Aygi says, "are swept up by the whirlwind of festivity; everything whirls—from Earth to Heaven—and perhaps the Universe too begins to swirl.… Everything flows together in the rainbow colors and lights of the infinite world of Poetry."