James Kates


J. Kates is a minor poet, a literary translator and the co-director of Zephyr Press. He has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation, and a Käpylä Translation Prize. He has published three chapbooks of his own poems and one full book, The Briar Patch (Hobblebush Books). He is the translator of more than a dozen books of translations of Russian and French poets, and has edited two anthologies of translations. A former president of the American Literary Translators Association, he is also the co-translator of six books of Latin American and Spanish poetry.

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"slowly revealing itself" by Aigerim Tazhi

[translated from the Russian]

slowly revealing itself
the shore leads to the sun
into a black and quiet town
soot on the temple of God
in the air people moan –
their weeping is a pinch of salt
fish drown in the air,
fall under a cat’s paw
the city burns but the sea
will fill it with life
one day
and deep down a conch
a crayfish and a forgotten anchor

About Aigerim Tazhi

Aigerim Tazhi is not only a compelling poet in her own words, but also significant as a Kazakhstani writer representative of a new generation of women poets of the post-Soviet world who write in the Russian language and out of a Russian literary tradition while fully inhabiting their personal heritage. Tazhi is remarkable for the number of different ways of looking around and observation she employs or implies, making her own persona not the center of attention, but the center of perception.