I discovered (via Anatoly) that the artist and poet Dmitri Prigov (Russian Wikipedia) died early today following a massive heart attack. It’s hard to describe his wonderful little poems; I’m afraid a couple of slapdash translations won’t honor his memory very effectively, but I’ll do the best I can:

Женщина в метро меня лягнула
Ну, пихаться – там куда ни шло
Здесь же она явно перегнула
Палку, и все дело перешло
В ранг ненужно личных отношений
Я, естественно, в ответ лягнул
Но и тут же попросил прощенья –
Просто я как личность выше был

So a woman kicked me in the subway
Well, a little jostling’s not so bad
This woman, though, did it six ways from Sunday
She went too far, and so the whole thing had
To sink to the level of the unnecessarily
Personal – of course I kicked her back
But right away I told her I was sorry –
You see, I as a person am above all that

В пустыне
Большие пустые чужие каменья безводной пустыни
Пустые чужие каменья безводной пустыни
Чужие каменья безводной пустыни
Каменья безводной пустыни
Безводной пустыни

In the desert
Immense and deserted and alien stones of the waterless desert
Deserted and alien stones of the waterless desert
Alien stones of the waterless desert
Stones of the waterless desert
The waterless desert
The desert


  1. Very nice. More please!

  2. John Emerson says

    You need to publish some of your translations. Don’t be so modest.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I don’t speak, nor do I know anyone who speaks, Russian, but I’m sure it’s beautiful to hear. Is it possible to post a .wav or something of a reading? Thank you again.

  4. Hi, the translations you did are wonderful. I am Russian and I liked them a lot. And thanks indeed for remembering D.A.Prigov here.

  5. Alonso Himmeltreu says

    Rest in peace in the desert and don’t get kicked by subterranean lady creatures. Thank you for everything.

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