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OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism
It was a movement so artfully anarchic, and so quickly suppressed, that readers only began to discover its strange and singular brilliance three decades after it was extinguished-and then only in samizdat and émigré publications. Some called it the last of the Russian avant-garde, and others called it the first (and last) instance of Absurdism in Russia; however difficult ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published August 14th 2006 by Northwestern University Press
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Because the Oberiu poets enjoyed using strict rhyme the way Oulipo writers dug theoretical procedures and constraints, it's difficult to speak about some of the poetry in this collection - who knows how much the translators fudged to work around slant rhymes and sound approximations? The poetry of Zabolotsky, especially, seems to suffer through translation, but what the hell do I know as a non Russian speaker? That being said, no amount of translation issues can stop the poetry of Alexander Vved ...more
Call me old-fashioned, call me a philistine, but I believe that a writer’s first duty is to be intelligible or, failing that, to be unintelligible in an interesting way. I’m not arguing for simplicity: Finnegans Wake is plenty intelligible as long as you’ve done some post-graduate work in modernist literature and know six or seven European languages. I’m arguing for a quota of coherence. By that measure, OBERIU is a failure. I’m sure that, in the original Russian, the poetry of the Soviet Absurd ...more