Gennadi Aygi (1934-2006)

The sad news in this morning that the great Chuvash poet Gennadi Aygi died in Moscow yesterday. There are two worthwhile on-line obits in the German-language newspapers this morning: the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Neue Zuricher Zeitung. The NZZ calls him the “happy hermeticist,” a rather lovely description of Aygi. Last month I wrote about Aygi on this blog, reprinting some texts I ahd translated for the “99 poets” issue of Boundary2, and appealing for donations, given the great & pressing need for money to cover medical costs. (Aygi once joked that he had made 2000 rubles for 25 years of work. Clearly that situation didn’t improve much under the post-Soviet system). I do hope that he was able to spend his last days in a minimum of physical and medical comfort. Grandson of a practicing shaman, I am sure that he knew how to climb that world-tree & move into the next realm. Travel well, Gennady!

On the web more details & some poems can be found at Word without Borders and on the duration press website. Below one of these (from the duration site) in Peter France’s translation:

Again — Whisperings-and-Rustlings


and the cuckoo’s voice a dim coal
patiently hollowing a pit in the forest
its dampness reaching the heart
and the heart slumbers and does not wake me


and later (slumbering by day)
in children’s play is less and less light
and their noise is the stuff of death
(and ever more sadly disappearing
in calamity – as in rubbish – I feel comfort)


and this is that time of Self-Dying


and sleep snowstorm like a white cload
armour of non-active youth
(and not “struggle” my friend but living –
lingeringly – unto-death in the stillness)


And its true name rustles – Lifedeath.


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