For the first time, the New York journal Cardinal Points (Стороны света) has published an issue in English. In fact, it’s a double issue, and it’s packed with great stuff. Compiled under the guest editorship of Robert Chandler, the new issue includes translations of works by Marina Tsvetaeva, Andrei Platonov, Varlam Shalamov, and Vasily Grossman, along with original poems by Chandler, Glyn Maxwell, and Ilya Kaminsky, among others. There is enough excellent writing here to keep you occupied for many days. Valentina Polukhina, for example, has an interview here with David Bethea about Joseph Brodsky, whom Bethea calls “the last poet in the Russian heroic tradition.” And Chandler gives us his own essay on Platonov and Shalamov to accompany their stories.
The Platonov included is Two extracts from Chevengur, which gives you a glimpse of the forthcoming translation by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, and Olga Meerson (I wrote about the novel here and here); the Grossman pieces are “A Small Life” (included in the new collection The Road) and the wonderful eleventh chapter (with a charming introduction by Chandler) of Everything Flows; and there is a fascinating discussion by Alexander Anichkin (known to LH readers as commenter Sashura) of various versions of a Bella Akhmadulina poem, including one quoted by Vassily Aksyonov that is not to be found in editions of Akhmadulina but that gives the poem “a sharp political edge without losing the wider, philosophical meaning.” There’s much more, of course, and Russophones can read the Russian edition as well.
Addendum. The Russian name of the magazine, Стороны света (Stórony sveta) ‘sides of the world,’ is a pun on the phrase страны света (Strány sveta) ‘cardinal points,’ literally ‘countries of the world’; I’m not sure what the point of the pun is in Russian, but they have (doubtless wisely) made no attempt to reproduce it in the English name.
Update to Addendum. It appears the two phrases are variants, though the one I was familiar with is more common (and thus the only one in my dictionaries). Thanks, as always, to my knowledgeable commenters for the correction!