Jan/Feb 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 1 Nonfiction |

The Last Soviet Poet

Twenty years ago, I was lost again in Moscow, circling identical white multistory apartment blocks in a panic, trying to find the legendary avant-garde poet Dmitri Aleksandrovich Prigov. I was always lost in Moscow. Whether confronted by churches or apartment complexes, I found Russia’s architecture dizzying in its self-replication. In the 1976 film The Irony of Fate, Zhenya gets so drunk with his friends at a Moscow banya that when they haul themselves off to the airport, he passes out at the gate. His buddies are so drunk that they cannot recall who is to go on the plane to Leningrad, and they guess (incorrectly) that it’s Zhenya. Because every happy Soviet city resembles every other, Zhenya staggers from the plane, through an identical airport to a taxi, gives his address to the driver, and is taken to an identical apartment, where he staggers up and inserts his key into the identical door — and it opens. Thus begins his adventure in a parallel life. Like Zhenya, I lur

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Philip Metres
Philip Metres is the author of The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance (2018), Pictures at an Exhibition (2016), Sand Opera (2015), To See the Earth (2008), and other books. A recipient of the Lannan, two NEAs, and two Arab American Book Awards, he is director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program and professor of English at John Carroll University. http://www.philipmetres.com

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Twenty years ago, I was lost again in Moscow, circling identical white multistory apartment blocks in a panic, trying to find the legendary avant-garde poet Dmitri Aleksandrovich Prigov. I was […]

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By Philip Metres

Twenty years ago, I was lost again in Moscow, circling identical white multistory apartment blocks in a panic, trying to find the legendary avant-garde poet Dmitri Aleksandrovich Prigov. I was […]

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