Odors

Odors, those varieties of smell,
can be good at swimming. Far they go,
like the bubble, straw and bast-shoe tale,
or the mellow tune of “Suliko.”

Take this eatery. Amid all these
goodies, fruit-starch drink and cottage cheese,
one will sometimes catch a pong of chlorine,
of the morgue, of desiccated pine.

Other times, you come to say goodbye
to a corpse, and smell a sudden whiff,
by the morgue, of baking apple pie,
and the sun shines, and leaf clings to leaf…

Translated from the Russian by Philip Nikolayev

*

Yuli Gugolev is a poet, translator, and television personality born in 1964 in Moscow; TV-host of the foodie-program “Moscow in Your Plate” at the TV-channel Moscow 24, he is the author of four books of poetry: Polnoe: Sobranie sochineniy (Complete: Collected Works; Moscow: OGI, 2000); Komandirovochnye predpisaniya (Official Instructions; Moscow: Novoe izdatelstvo, 2006), which won the Moscow Score prize for 2007; Estestvenniy otbor (Natural selection; Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie,2010; Miy drugoi (Us is the other one), Novoe izdatelstvo, 2019). In 2008, Gugolev was one of three poets invited to give a series of bilingual readings around the United States sponsored by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation in conjunction with the release of Contemporary Russian Poetry: An Anthology from Dalkey Archive Press, (2008).Yuli Gugolev’s poems were also translated and published in Crossing Centuries, Talisman House Publishers, 2000. He has translated poems by Alice Fulton, Tony Hoagland, and A.E. Stallings (Modern American Poetry, an Anthology, Moscow: OGI, 2007),by Tom Paulin (Peashes and Diesel, Six Irish Poets. B.S.G.-PRESS, 2000); and by Patrick Kavanah (Irish Literature in Russian Translation, issue 1, Dublin: Trinity College, 2012).

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