Mikhail Kuzmin “Tīkli / Сети” (Nets)

Velvet Series


The popular “Velvet Series” of bilingual poetry will soon be complemented with a new publication – translation of the debut collection “Tīkli” / “Сети” (Nets) (1908) by the Russian poet of the Silver Age Mikhail Kuzmin (1872–1936).

Poet, writer and composer Mikhail Kuzmin was born in the landlord family, studied composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Anatoly Lyadov. His debuted in literature in 1904, and gained scandalous attention with his first novel “Wings” (1906), in which for the first time in Russian literature the homoerotic passion was so openly described. Two years later his debut poetry collection “Nets” appeared, followed by a few more. Kuzmin’s poetry is characterized by a great variety of forms that other colleagues have borrowed from him. His name is associated with the Akmeists literary grouping. “He is an outstanding poet, one of the most wonderful poets of the 20th century,” said Joseph Brodsky of Kuzmin.

Translated by Einārs Pelšs and Kārlis Vērdiņš, editor – Jānis Elsbergs. Author of the preface – Dmitry Kuzmin.



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Svens Birkerts “Esejas” (Essays)


The US-based writer, literary critic and cultural observer Sven Birkerts (1951) has written several critically acclaimed books of essays. This selection includes two of them – The Other Walk (2011) and Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age (2015) – which, to the author’s mind, marks the shift of focus and the beginning of “new vision” brought about by the digital age.

Marcel Proust wrote somewhere that love begins with looking, and the idea is suggestive. But if that’s the case, the reverse might also be: that true looking begins with love. There’s the quote that I used to repeat like a mantra to writing students, from Flaubert: “Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.” Again, the distinctions, the questions of priority. Is it that the looked-at thing becomes interesting, or that its intrinsic interest gradually emerges? Is the power in the negotiable thing or in the act of looking? If the latter, then the things of the world are already layered with significance, and looking is merely the action that discloses.”

Sven Birkerts




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