E DUBNOV: CRITICAL OPINIONS - POETRY




LATEST POETRY VOLUMES: http://www.shoestring-press.com/2017/07/beyond-the-boundaries/
http://www.shoestring-press.com/2013/07/the-thousand-year-minutes/












Rich in texture, poignant, subtle, and beautifully made, the poems of Eugene Dubnov are long overdue for a collection in in America. At home in several cultures, Dubnov is a true original.

X.J. Kennedy

A real gift.
               Prof. John Bayley, Oxford

Resonance of great Russian poetry of the past in a uniquely original voice.
               Prof. Sir Dmitry Obolensky, Oxford

A significant... interesting and resourceful poet.
               Prof. Gerald Smith, Chair of Russian, Oxford, in Scottish Slavonic Review

Impressions arising when reading these poems are of a burning passion, concentrated in one gust, for freedom, characteristic of thinking individuals of the author's generation. Thousands of times sold, betrayed and compromised, the word "freedom" comes to life in these poems and is filled with its true, irresistible content. These poems were written in Soviet Russia where, in their author's words, "There's a heavy price that must be paid / For the ability to take wing. "

The New Russian Word  (New York), 1972

An original talent... a combination of hypnotic melody with polished mastery of form. [....] It is...clear that he is an heir to Mandelstam (and to Joseph Brodsky, as well), but his is an original voice, moulding the Russian language with finesse and sensitivity.

Prof. Donald Rayfield, University of London, in Books in Russian

A real journey of the spirit... Body of work that advances steadily in accomplishment... The author shows intimacy and assured way with language which responds happily to his touch... he has learned from poets such as Pasternak and Mandelstam, yet develops his own voice.

Prof. Henry Gifford, University of Bristol

A sensitive look into the nature of things and events, close attention to earth’s great and small marks... unceasing thinking process and meaningfulness... unquestionable sincerity and trust in the reader... mastery of language... Similes and metaphors in Eugene Dubnov’s poetry please the eye with their freshness and precision.

The New Review  (New York)

Eugene Dubnov’s poetry is remarkable for its tight structure and dense, complex texture.

W.D. Snodgrass

Eugene Dubnov's poems, side by side in the original Russian, "chorus in polyphony," like his springtime birds. His work is a magnificent epistle to lives "stretched between fire and hard frost." Rich details, precise diction, and surprising metaphors elevate The Thousand-Year Minutes to its rightful place: a bookshelf near you.

J. Patrick Lewis, USA


Delicate, fierce, and subtly layered, Eugene Dubnov's poems capture nature's music and examine the wounds and yearnings of the heart. Beautifully crafted and translated, Beyond the Boundaries is a treasure.

Beth Hoffman, USA


Multifarious and fruitful experience at cross-sections of cultures... the richness and breadth of experience fully paid for by the spiritual exertion.

Prof. Helena Konstantinovsky in The Renaissance

Philosophical density and intellectualism side by side with erudition; close attention to historical realities.

Dr. Ida Lifshitz, University of Moscow, in The Companion

Eugene Dubnov's new book, The Thousand-Year Minutes , shows a sharp lyrical objectivism that reminds me a bit of the late work of George Oppen, yet is all a strength of its own and of a life lived, sometimes suffered, in and of both the natural and built worlds, showing both how complex and how ephemeral our places, spaces, and selves really are. Here's a sample:

UNTITLED

Water's purpose here is plain: grinding away
the lip of the cliff, to take its place; in front of us
a mighty stream erupts from the earth's depths
of luminously vibrant grey clay.

All is in complex motion, and into the space
where you've just been, air from behind you,
with its silky foot has already entered
and instantly occupied your lost place.

Charles Alexander, Chax Press, USA


Poetry of the earth...[The Thousand-Year Minutes ] brought to mind something of the pure and uninflected voice of John Clare: "targets in the river / grief in the grass / rain / the spangled asphalt" ["Cityscape", p.9].

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook


I like Eugene Dubnov’s poems; they are intelligent, meaningful and unconcerned with impressing the reader.

Alexander Kushner, National Poet of Russia



Masterful translations.
                                     
                                       NewPages review of poems published in New Letters 77-1

 


Book Review: Eugene Dubnov's Beyond the Boundaries

In this high tech, modern age we live in, it is often lamented that poetry is a forgotten and underappreciated art. Those who make such lamentations, however, should merely read Eugene Dubnov's collection of poems contained in Beyond the Boundaries, and one's faith in the power and beauty of poetry will be restored.

Dubnov's collection is broken into three separate sections, largely listed in chronological order of their inception. The sectional breaks between poems then seems to mirror both physical and linguistic aporias in the poet's own life, which is poetically reflected back in sparkling metaphors. The first section begins with astoundingly powerful poetic speakers who chart territories in nature that surrounds them, and that exists across parallel memories spanning various languages, locations and terrain. The very first poem, "Estonian Song", captures the intertwining of language and land "being swaddled at birth in double Estonian vowels" but the aporia ruptures in a painfully beautiful way when the speaker says "The words I uttered were Russian / but I wrenched their sound far away from the Russian language."

Exile and diasporic identities float in and out of various poems, and this poet, born in Estonia, both loving and rebelling against mother Russia, but also being pulled to England and Israel, tells the tale of languages and memories tied paradoxically to both everywhere and nowhere. As M Turner makes clear in The Literary Mind (1996), narratives and stories always do more than tell a story; indeed they convey how we think, how we speak and reflect the very generation of memory itself. Indeed we find that the speakers of Dubnov's poems carry the heart and warmth of "home" (as we find with "On This Warm Summer Day"), and chart a direction to find "...sadness luminous as snow" in "Farewell to Homeland. A Polonaise." Warm hands and whispers roam the terrain of memory that also cradles a snowy, cold gust of memory that is never far behind.

Desire, feminine elements and passion all mark the start of the second section of poems. The romantic lyricism of "Fantasy Impromptu" runs counter to the next "Untitled" poem, haunted by dreams, clenched fists, blood and an incandescent sun blazing in the background. In "Metropolis," the speaker tells of a New York that offers shelter and solitude, which feeds into the next poem "Quick Run! I Shout At Your Back," where Moscow boulevards wash the speaker's footprints away. Disjuncture serves as a constant and both displacement and temporal and special ruptures are as dependable as any notion of home could be.

The third and final section of Dubnov's collection begins with a powerful yet grim reminder of death with the calendar serving to oppress and sicken the speaker of "Translating Into Life and Death." And while language and its limits appear to be a central theme throughout the entire collection of Dubnov’s poems, this third and final section truly showcases the immense impact of such a metaphor, especially with the namesake poem in the book, "Beyond the Boundaries." "Young days beneath a sky" interweave time, places and memories and morph into a speaker telling us that "a mouth full of too many words/.../will be filled with rain, snow, wind." Days and time itself carry the shifting memories that are so filled with languages and the memories each language conveys, that they too become part of the cosmic universe. The speaker ends with both a directive and a testimony of multiple presences in multiple languages and places: "I too, - look - have already set off." Indeed, that the speaker points out his own departure is the perfect ending for this treasured collection of gems. The power of poetry and the mind and experiences of Eugene Dubnov have coalesced to create a truly wonderful addition to the annals of poetry.

Shellie McCullough
USA