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Summer by the Ravine

By
September 4, 2012

“Even more light,” you say, standing in the window’s green rectangle. Soundlessly, the wind blows into the birds’ sails, the fog sinks into the ravine like a leaky boat. When I hide my head under the pillow I seem to hear all the alarm clocks in the village: my morning is also the morning of the butcher and the Chairman, our sun rises with an anxious squealing, the world is born on the clock face, streets roll out from the seconds, each like a nut from a shell cracked with a shoe against hot tarmac.—I wish there were simpler words for this—to reach a point zero or the limit, to write: “It was so hard without you,” and then, “Thank God, you came,” instead of: “You are standing in the window’s green rectangle; apples look like crystals,” or, “You’ll go away again, your scent will leave this room slowly and agonizingly like a headache after a long day.” A black dog comes into the house from the garden, the road vibrates in its emptiness and the heat opens tiny cafés on the verandas. “Even more.” The tip of the birch touches the moon, which, having sucked the night dry, recedes into the blue. Grasshoppers are ticking in the grass like lost watches. Birds call from the ravine.—”Our happiness is accidental.”

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Artis Ostups is the author of the poetry collection Comrade Snow (2010), which was nominated for Best Debut at the Latvian Annual Award in Literature. Since 2008, he has been publishing book reviews and articles on aesthetics in different magazines. Ostups is a postgraduate student of philosophy at the University of Latvia. His translations of Walt Whitman appeared in a Latvian edition of Leaves of Grass (2011). His second poetry collection will be published next year.

Journalist and translator Ieva Lešinska returned to Latvia in 1994 after sixteen years spent in the United States, Sweden, and Germany. As a journalist, she has conducted interviews with a number of prominent literary figures, including Harold Bloom, Christopher Ricks, John Lanchester, David Remnick, and others. As a translator, she has been the English voice of many middle- and younger-generation Latvian poets. She has also translated works of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg, Toni Morrison, and others into Latvian.

Tom Pow is one of Scotland’s foremost poets, winner of a number of awards. He has also written young adult novels, picture books, radio plays, and a travel book about Peru. For the past five years he has been working on a project about Europe’s dying villages (In Another World—Among Europe’s Dying Villages).

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