Sentimental Song

Burst into a derisive laughter,
laugh at me, too, at me as well,
as at a foreign Gastarbeiter
say, hey, go home, pal, or to hell.

Don’t recognize my sacred talent,
at any cost, no matter what,
just do not kill me – that’s sufficient,
bury me not, bury me not.

Translated from the Russian by Philip Nikolayev

*

Dennis Novikov, now recognized as a major poet in Russia, was born and lived chiefly in Moscow, but also spent several years in England and Israel. The intonations of his lyric verse have influenced numerous Russian poets. Novikov attended the Literary Institute of the Writer’s Union (Russia’s top creative writing program) and was the youngest member of the prominent Almanac group in the 1990s, which also included the poets Sergey Gandlevsky, Alexander Soprovsky, D. A. Prigov, Lev Rubinshtein, Viktor Koval, and Timur Kibirov. Four volumes of his poetry appeared in his lifetime, the second with an enthusiastic afterword by Joseph Brodsky. His collected poems are Viza (“The Visa”, edited by Felix Chechik (Voymega, Moscow, 2007)). An annotated volume of Novikov’s complete works, Reka – Oblaka (“River, Clouds”), was published by Voymega in 2019. His poems are translated into English by Philip Nikolayev with the exclusive permission of the estate of Dennis Novikov.

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