Alpha Donut: The Selected Shorter Works of Matvei Yankelevich
Author: Matvei Yankelevich
Publisher: United Artists Books (2012)
Alpha Donut: The Selected Shorter Works of Matvei Yankelevich collects poems and prose texts written over the course of the first eleven years of the millennium. Alpha Donut rolls out a pastiche of works from several serial projects (such as Writing in the Margin or The Bar Poems) and unpublished fragments that thread together swaths of stand-alone poems. Many of these pieces have appeared in progressive literary journals and little magazines. They are now, for the first time, gathered together in a practical volume for fans and newcomers alike.
"Matvei Yankelevich is a wonderful poet—wonderful in the sense that he is not, to the least degree, enigmatic but always simply and humanly mysterious.... One of my favorite younger poets, he deserves a wide and generous readership in this land fitfully struggling for some sort of smart redemption."
"I feel incredibly close to this book because, in picturing a life lived through writing, it never abdicates the knot of ambivalence & ecstasy such a life necessarily entails. So much of what I love lives here—Mandelstam's ghost, the doomsday clock cigarette that burns throughout the book, cities & friends, drinks & readings. Yet Alpha Donut's poems are so prepossessing exactly because they're so restless where affinity is concerned. Matvei registers all the ways in which our affection for anything is often mystifyingly the ground of our trouble. The idea that we seem to be getting from culture, that liking things is somehow equivalent to knowing them, is in every way refuted by the humor, inquiry, & love this book manifests over & over. While the language is clear, its clarity is turned to sing through something elementally illegible foundering in the depths of our feeling: 'This text is written on buttons / so tightly sewn / to each other that no one / can read it.' That's really why I feel so bonded to this book, & why now I can't imagine life without it."