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Factory of Tears

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  173 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
"Mort...strives to be an envoy for her native country, writing with almost alarming vociferousness about the struggle to establish a clear identity for Belarus and its language." —The New Yorker

“Valzyhna Mort . . . can justly be described as a risen star of the international poetry world. Her poems have something of the incantatory quality of poets such as Dylan Thomas or
Paperback, 116 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Copper Canyon Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 16, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
Shelves: poetry
Valzhyna is the most astonishing must read this book, and if you ever have a chance to hear her read, you must drop everything & go there. At once. She is a dynamo. Only 27 and living in D.C. for the past 2 years, Valzhyna is Belrusian, a former accordionist, opera singer, and ballet dancer (her words are not 'former,' but 'failed'). Her first book, 'I Am as Thin as Your Eyelashes' came in out in Sweden in 2005. 'Factory of Tears' is published in a bilingual edition and translated ...more
Sep 10, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it
Factory of Tears by Valzhyna Mort, poetry
Translated by Elizabeth Oehikers Wright and Franz Wright

Valzhyna Mort is a Belarusian poet whose voice is unapologetic and smart. She doesn't mess around trying to beautify what is not...and yet, she finds beauty in unexpected places. Her poetry doesn't back away from the controversial. This collection is the first book of Belarusian/English poetry published in the US, for which Copper Canyon Press can be very proud.

Belarus has a rich and sometimes viole
Jun 12, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
Valzhyna's poetry is hard to capture in a few hundred words. Her words smart, sly, sexy, striking, evocative, crude, beautiful. Her performance is unlike her words - her poetry bursts to life in firecracker pops when she speaks.

I reluctantly say that I've read the volume, because I've read only the English translations and what I can puzzle out of the Belarusian. Belarusian is similar to Russian, but there are enough differences that I'd need a dictionary to sort out certain words, and even then
Apr 02, 2010 Tara rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I am a little unsure of how to rate this collection, so for now I withhold giving it some stars. On the whole, I really enjoyed it. The poems are stark, some angry, dark, and violent, and some very surprising also. It's cool that Mort writes in Belarusan. In fact, many of the strongest poems are those that are political in nature. Her live readings are awesome. And, there were 5 or 6 poems here that just blew me away. On the other hand, there are also about 20-25 pages of this collection that ...more
Erma Odrach
Oct 16, 2010 Erma Odrach rated it it was amazing
A bilingual Belarusian/Englisih book of poetry. The poems are passionate and powerful, reflecting Belarusia's complicated and tragic history, and culture.

In "Grandmother", Mort writes:

"my grandmother
doesn't know pain
she believes that
famine is nutrition
poverty is wealth
thirst is water"
Nov 20, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I have not read poetry in a while and as good as this book is, I am sure it is much better spoken.
Jan 15, 2015 Ярослава rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Двомовне видання чудової молодої білоруської поетки.
Вірші звідти білоруською можна знайти тут:
Скажімо, так:

беларуская мова 1

нават нашыя маці ня знаюць як мы зьявіліся ў сьвет
як мы самі рассунуўшы іхнія ногі вылезьлі вонкі
так вылазяць пасьля бамбардзіроўкі з руінаў
мы ня ведалі хто з нас хлопец а хто дзяўчына
і жэрлі зямлю і думалі што жарэм хлеб
а нашая будучыня –
гімнастачка на тонкай нітачцы далягляду –
што там яна толькі
ні вырабляла

мы расьлі ў краіне д
May 12, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it
I moved Mort's book Factory of Tears to the top of my reading list because I liked the poem that Sarah posted in the online poem section of the group, and I heard Mort reading on the Poetry Magazine podcast. I was impressed by both her reading and her writing.

I am still impressed after reading her book. Her images are very often surprising and she seems to write simply, but the poems are somehow heavy and they stick to you. They are gorgeous, even when their subjects aren't.

This book was trans
Natalie Tyler
Jul 25, 2016 Natalie Tyler rated it it was amazing

“Do not eat the fruit from your family tree” Mort, a 30-something poet from Minsk, Belarus, warns her readers. I liked her work so much that I read both her two books of poetry. She writes in different styles (lyric poetry, prose poetry) and the personal often interacts with the historical and the geographical. I take the “Factory of Tears” to be Belarus itself, or else the fragments of the former Soviet Union, where “we gorged on dirt thinking it was bread.” It’s difficult to find authenticity
Rune Clausen
Aug 09, 2015 Rune Clausen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
So the first thing that struck me, was that it's a poem collection. I have not dealt with that before, and it seemed somehow daunting. The second thing that stood out, was that the book contains the original belarussian version on the left pages, and the english translation on the right pages, which is a really neat feature, even if i do not speak belarussian.

The initial fear of engaging poems was mostly unjustified, as some of the poems were more explicit in their meanings than i could have fea
Nov 15, 2010 Daisy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Rooh
Recommended to Daisy by: Amy Henry's shelf
Shelves: eastern-europe, poems
I'd like to see her perform these.
I love the cover of this book. That is my kind of photograph. (credit to Iveta Vaivoda and Valerie Brewster)
The poems finish strong, making me want to go back over them, which I often did. Here's one of my favorites:

A Portrait of a Mother in Fall

we tie a knot on everything that bends
and only our necks are free of knots
the sky like the soggy feathers of a bird
that's sleeping or most likely dead

and dinner comes
exchanges food
for our time

she used to bend over her t
Ann Michael
Aug 30, 2011 Ann Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Mort's readings are dynamic and much celebrated, but these poems do not do much for me on the page. Is it translation? Hard to believe, as the translators are considered pretty terrific poets in their own right. Perhaps it's because what works orally does not always convey well in print? I have found that to be the case with other spoken word poets. These poems seem to vacillate between startling and pedestrian, sometimes within the same stanza; and a few seem downright obscure.

Maybe I am missin
Robert M
Jun 25, 2008 Robert M rated it really liked it
Just finished this one. I first heard about her in the last issue of Poets and Writers and could tell from the poem they printed that she was one to watch. Excellent book, very powerful stuff. She writes with a level of energy and intensity that is too often lacking in much contemporary poetry. This is her 2nd book (and she's only a 26-year-old kid!) so it will be intersting to see how her voice evolves in the years to come.
Jun 03, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it
The long piece "White Trash" seems central to this collection, and is quite a ride. I also like how the book is varied in tone and style--refreshing for a first book written in English, but especially refreshing for a translated book, especially by a young poet. So there's the powerhouse "White Trash" alongside some effective epigrammatic pieces alongside more conventional lyric poems with single subjects (New York, men, etc.). I'm already looking forward to Mort's next book.
Aug 14, 2009 Will rated it it was ok
This book is not pretty. Very little pattern to the page, though what really gets my goat is the clumsiness of her line stops. I think this is the single biggest problem with youngish poets who never concern themselves with the technical side of composition and write purely from the heart; they don't revise anything that is "truly felt." Still, she's got potential. So long as the critics don't murder her with a big pillow-case of acclaim.
Dec 14, 2009 R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Original review:

So good.



Read this on April 13 at the temporary library; Dec. 14, found and read two new poems by Valzhyna in the Dec. 2009 issue of Poetry (pgs. 197-199) at the new library: "crossword" (Her pussy reaches up and turns on the light in her womb) and "Jean-Paul Belmondo" (You move through the streets - listing them is as useless as naming waves).

Italics mine.
D. Thompson
Dec 25, 2014 D. Thompson rated it it was amazing
To understand these poems you have to know something about the author which is that she stands and recites these poems with such excitement that reading them actually doesn't cut it. My suggestion to you the reader would be to find her video's on YouTube and listen to her read factory of tears, then and only then, should you read these poems.
Jan 25, 2015 Jerrod rated it it was amazing
It wears its sadness lightly, but its impact is anything but light. The collection is very strong formally and quite moving. Ms. Mort clearly reckons with a personal and national inheritance that is both complex and ever-changing. Let us hope that her success allows for more poetry to come from Belarus, a nation clearly struggling to find its voice.
Robert Rhodes
May 26, 2008 Robert Rhodes rated it it was amazing
This Belarusian poet is absolutely astonishing. I would love to hear her read, which is supposed to be even more galvanizing than reading her on the page. Very fine poems by a young writer with miles to go. Translations are by the author working with Franz Wright and his wife, Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright.
Aug 20, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
Heard about Valzhyna Mort through an article and felt immediately compelled to read her book. Sometimes first sight literary love really works.
Mar 26, 2009 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, world
Missed the part of the reviews that noted she wrote slam poetry. Her poems are probably quite powerful when they are "spoken."
Jul 16, 2009 Craig rated it liked it
Very powerful work. The long poem "White Trash" was exceptional. Sometimes, I felt a little lost, however.
Aug 03, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it
This collection was intriguing and an pleasure to read. I just wish I could read the Belarus language.
Theresa rated it it was amazing
Nov 17, 2015
Janel rated it liked it
Jan 24, 2015
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Dec 17, 2008
Daniel Shapiro
Daniel Shapiro rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2016
Ashley Alexander
Ashley Alexander rated it really liked it
Nov 06, 2008
Dean Temple
Dean Temple rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2015
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