“A Sunny Morning in the Square” by Polina Barskova (CRF 2017), translated from the Russian by Valzhyna Mort (Incoming Writing Fellow 2023) was featured in the New York Times.
“This poem in translation is about the deportation of Jews from the town of Bialystok, Poland. It aptly captures the destabilized and paradoxical nature of memory and history. Bialystok at once ‘grows silent and speaks’ and is ‘stocked with soldiers in the amount of one.’ Even the poem’s title describes the morning as ‘Sunny’ while the first line foretells the killing: ‘My half-baked flesh.’ In this poem, Bialystok is filled with ghosts who are still trying to speak, warning us about the perils of war and inhumanity. We just need to hear and listen to the past. Selected by Victoria Chang” Read the poem here.
Illustration by R. O. Blechman.