The Sunday Poem: Anzhelina Polonskaya




Paul Klee’s Boat

Soon it will be winter and soon
a nightingale with a bandaged throat,
a plum tree in bloom, and a white
hill pushed up against the door.

Illness arrives like Mozart,
sits down at the black piano
and its voice touches with a single note.

I see January, a blockade,
you’re sketching Paul Klee’s boat,
big on petite.

It sails along, the fool, not knowing —
can’t brush the wave from its eyelash.

Somewhere a shutter bangs shut,
and you bend toward the sketch.
Mozart creates like a god!
And the two of us, childless.

We’d be husband and wife,
together forever it seemed.
But burned by Greeks and barbarians
we fled, leaving no trace.


Translated by Andrew Wachtel





About Anzhelina Polonskaya
Anzhelina Polonskaya was born in Malakhovka, a small town near Moscow. She began to write poems seriously at the age of eighteen. At that time she was a professional ice-show skater. Between 1995 and 1997 she lived in Latin America, working as an ice dancer. Her first book of verses Svetoch Moi Nebesny (My Heavenly Torch) appeared in 1993. In 1998, the Moscow Writer’s Publishing House published her second book Verses. The Sky in a Private’s Eye followed in 1999. In 2002 her book Golos (A Voice) was published in Moscow; an English version of A Voice was shortlisted for the 2005 Corneliu Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation.

Polonskaya has been a fellow at the Cove Park Scottish Arts Council, the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers, The MacDowell Colony, Bellagio, and the Villa Sträuli in Zurich. Translations of her poetry have appeared in World Literature Today, Poetry Review, American Poetry Review, and the International Poetry Review. In 2012 a bilingual edition of her new poems titled Paul Klee’s Boat will be published by Zephyr Press.

On October 22, 2011 Kursk: An Oratorio Requiem–a collaboration between Polonskaya and composer David Chisholm–will premiere at the Melbourne Festival. The libretto for Kursk consists of ten of Polonskaya’s poems, which are a tribute to the 118 lives lost in the tragic sinking of the Kursk submarine in August of 2000. For more information about Anzhelina Polonskaya, please visit her website.

Click here to explore the entire Sunday Poem series, which includes work by Meghan O’Rourke, Eduardo Corral, Andrea Cohen, and D. Nurkse. You can also add a comment about “Paul Klee’s Boat” or share this poem on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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“Paul Klee’s Boat” © Anzhelina Polonskaya. Printed with permission by the author.

By | 2016-11-11T21:55:47+00:00 08.13.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Anzhelina Polonskaya

About the Author:

I’ve spent almost 20 years helping thousands of successful artists of all disciplines and working to make the arts more accessible. (One friend likes to call me “the arts enabler.”) From 1999-2012 I worked at The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s oldest artist colony, but I've also done time at an arts magazine, a library, an art museum, and a raptor rehabilitation center. In May of 2012 I left MacDowell to pursue writing, speaking, curating, and creative projects full-time. In 2015 I was named a “Top 100 Artist, Innovator, Creative” by Origin magazine. I've appeared as an arts and culture commentator on New Hampshire Public Radio, and in 2017 I was the recipient of the Wampler Art Professorship at James Madison University. I am the founder of the Gwarlingo Salon series, which connects artists like DJ Spooky with rural audiences in the Monadnock region. In 2017 my collaborator Corwin Levi and I will publish our first book, Mirror Mirrored, which combines Grimms’ fairy tales with vintage illustration remixes and the work of contemporary artists like Kiki Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, and Amy Cutler. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but have called New Hampshire home since 1999. My studio is located in the historic, mill village of Harrisville. I miss fried okra, the early southern spring, and restaurants that stay open past 9:00 p.m., but rural life agrees with me. In New Hampshire I can see the stars, go kayaking or snowshoeing, watch bald eagles fish in the lake, and focus on my creative work in silence. I no longer have to worry about traffic jams; deer, wild turkeys, and frost heaves are the primary road hazards here. Although I live in the country, I’m fortunate enough to be part of a vibrant arts community that extends beyond this small New England village. The quiet days are punctuated by regular travel and frequent visits to museums, theaters, readings, arts events, lectures, and open studios around the country. (You can read my full CV here.) Thanks for visiting Gwarlingo. I hope you'll be in touch.