Search Results for: Gorbunova

Alla Gorbunova.

Every week Lev Oborin posts a roundup of recent literary news, and I read them faithfully; this week’s brought to my attention the Petersburg poet Alla Gorbunova (Russian Wikipedia), who’s written a couple of books of prose — the brand-new one, «Конец света, моя любовь» [The end of the world, my love], sounded so good (Galina Yuzefovich in her review said it might be the book of the year) that I promptly bought an electronic copy and loved the title story (the first in the collection), in which the narrator describes her childish fear that the world would end and says that when she got older she realized the worst thing is that everything stays the same: мир обманул меня и оказался твердым, совсем твердым…. счастье — ето ожидание конца света [the world deceived me and turned out to be solid, completely solid…. happiness is waiting for the end of the world].

Her first book of prose, Вещи и ущи, a collection of very short pieces, came out in 2017; I’ll translate the title “Things and mings,” which will be explained by my translation of the title piece (you can read the original here, near the bottom of the page):


Things made from mind are distinguished from things made from matter by their history. The history of things made from matter is the history of material and master, machine and shelf. The history of things made from mind is the history of imagination. These two histories flow in parallel, but sometimes come together. For convenience we will call things made from matter “things,” and things made from mind “mings” [ущи, a combination of вещи ‘things’ and ум ‘mind’]. In each thing there is always some ming, even if only a little. The history of matter always includes the history of imagination. Most people have never seen pure mings, but I have. I love the history of things, but it may be that one day we will be living in a world consisting of mings. Sometimes I can’t tell immediately whether what’s before me is a thing or a ming, because at first glance they look identical. Then I begin to investigate the history of the object, and right away it becomes clear whether it’s a thing or a ming. But here too it’s possible to make a mistake and attribute the history of a thing to a ming or vice versa. There are people who interact perfectly well with things but on the plane of mings are completely helpless, and there are great masters of mings who are like little children when it comes to things. There’s no doubt that I have a certain talent for mings; in the first place, I can see them, and in the second place, I can perform various actions with them and even create them at will. As for things, the more ming there is in them, the easier it is for me to deal with them. Some things have very little ming in them. They say there is a dark sea in which mings cannot be born, and I fear that one day I will drown in it.

I have a weakness for the prose of poets, and I like that kind of thing a lot.