Praise for A Kindred Orphanhood

“Epicurus, Bentham, Freud, et al., were right: the goal of life is pleasure, and when we open a volume of Sergey Gandlevsky’s poems, we achieve this goal. One tries to restrict oneself to one or two, well, three poems at a time, to read slowly, to savor and extend one’ s reading, but one fails. One cannot stop until the book is finished.   What makes one so happy? The question is worth considering because one is not alone: in opinion polls, Russian readers consistently name Gandlevsky the country’s best living poet…

Gandlevsky turns the monotony and squalor of Soviet/post-Soviet life into lyrical poetry of the highest probe, and the means by which he achieves it are utterly minimalist. If one has a dream in his poem, it is a dream about fixing an old shed and not having matches to light a cigarette. His diction is almost as mumbling and cliché-ridden as a conversation in a crowded commuter train. His verse forms strictly adhere to the versification rules of a middle-school textbook: iambic pentameter or iambic hexameter for meditative poems, anapest for more sentimental lines. Yet, I repeat, nothing finds a more direct way to your heart than these flotsam and jetsam of the commonplace carried by regular iambic or anapestic waves.”

(“Fathoming Gandlevsky,” by Lev Loseff)

“We can be grateful to Philip Metres for having introduced English-speaking readers to the astringent and unflappable poems of Sergey Gandlevsky.  Like Weldon Kees and Alan Dugan, he is a poet of hard-won clarities, of classical formal concision combined with vernacular swagger.  Gandlevsky, with his pugilist stance and lyric heart, is a major discovery.”  (David Wojahn)

“Out of the Rubik’s Cube of Russia rise the complex strains of Sergey Gandlevsky…superb translations that uncannily make the Russian ours.” (Andrei Codrescu)

“Philip Metres has what any good translator needs to do the often thankless work of building bridges across our vast world of words: passion, and a love for Gandlevsky’s poems. That love has finally come to fruition in Gandlevsky’s first English-language collection, A Kindred Orphanhood, which Metres, now an assistant professor of English at John Carroll University, and a published poet in his own right, translated from the original Russian.”  (R.A. Washington, Cleveland Free Times.)