In her homeland of Russia, Polina Barskova is considered a prodigy, one of the most accomplished and daring of the younger poets. Born in 1976 in Leningrad — now called St. Petersburg, as before — she began publishing poems in journals at age nine and released the first of her six books as a teenager. She came to the United States at the age of 20 to pursue a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, having already earned a graduate degree in classical literature at the state university in St. Petersburg. Barskova now lives in Massachusetts and teaches at Hampshire College. Her scholarly publications include articles on Nabokov, the Bakhtin brothers, early Soviet film, and the aestheticization of historical trauma, primarily the culture of the Siege of Leningrad (1941–1944). Three books of her poetry have appeared in English translation: This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press, 2010), The Zoo in Winter (Melville House Press, 2011), and Relocations (Zephyr Press, 2013).
Making Meaning Under the Siege: On Five Leningrad Poets
Piotr Florczyk reflects on a brief new anthology of poetry written during the Siege of Leningrad (1941–1944)....