Translated by Philip Metres
An integral member of the ’70s generation, Gandlevsky was one of the underground Russian poets who began by writing only for themselves and their circles of friends during the Brezhnev era. Despite their relative cultural obscurity—or perhaps, precisely because of their situation as internal émigrés—Gandlevsky and the Seventies Generation forged new directions in Russian poetry, unfettered by the pressures that burdened Russian writers both prior to, and during, the Soviet period. Gandlevsky, like many of the underground, chose unprestigious careers, or even odd jobs, both to avoid participating in what he saw as a morally bankrupt society, while freeing up time for writing and travel.
Gandlevsky has since become one of the most important contemporary Russian poets, winning both the Little Booker Prize and the Anti-Booker Prize in 1996 for his poetry and prose. A Kindred Orphanhood is the first English translation of Gandlevsky’s collected poems. The book follows the author’s chronological order; while the early poems introduce the reader to his recurring obsessions, the later poems most fully represent the scope of his achievement in poetry. Gandlevsky, in poet Chris Green’s words, "seems to have lived by poetry, as if it were a raft to swim through the last twenty-five years of Soviet history."
Sergey Gandlevsky has published several books of poetry, a memoir, and a book of essays in Russian. His work has been included in every major anthology, including: 20th Century Russian Poetry: Silver and Steel (Doubleday Press), and In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era (Zephyr Press).
Philip Metres is a poet and translator of Russian poetry. His own poetry appears in numerous journals, including Poetry, and in Best American Poetry 2002. He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University.