The Russian Version (Second Edition)
Author: Elena Fanailova
Translators: Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler
Editor: Aleksandr Skidan
Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2019)
The 2019 second edition of The Russian Version (first published by UDP in 2009) includes a more recent long poem, “Lena and Lena.”
The Russian Version is a collection of poems that spans Russia’s post-Soviet era. Acclaimed journalist and poet, Elena Fanailova tells stories about the various social layers of a stratified and conflicted nation, reclaiming the poet’s role as social critic, while scrutinizing her own position as citizen and poet. Fanailova’s political lyricism casts personal pain into the net of historical suffering. The Russian Version includes an introduction by Russian poet and critic Aleksandr Skidan.
The Russian Version received the 2010 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry from Three Percent. In her citation for the award, Idra Novey, chair of the BTBA panel for poetry wrote: “The Russian Version obliterates the stereotype of what Great Russian Poetry should sound like. Fanailova has the candor and compassion of Akhmatova and a gift for striking metaphor that might bring Mandelstam to mind. She is also ruthlessly quick to fire ‘from the hip,’ as she says in the title poem, and her aim is impeccable.”