Arkadii Trofimovich Dragomoshchenko was born on February 3, 1946, in Potsdam, in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany, and raised in Vinnytsia, Ukrainian SSR. Since 1969 Dragomoshchenko has lived in Saint Petersburg. He received the Andrey Bely Independent Literary prize in 1978, the Electronic Text Award (for poetry from Phosphor), PostModernCulture Award (PMC) in 1993, and “The Franc-tireur Silver Bullet,” International Literary Prize in 2009. His writings have been translated and published in anthologies and journals in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Japan, Brazil and the United States. He translated the work of Lyn Hejinian, John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Michael Palmer, Eliot Weinberger, Barrett Watten, and others into Russian, and served as co-editor of The Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry in Russian Translation, as well as The Anthology of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry.
Nam mea frusta genetrix enixa fuit, ni Tu genuisses me, o lux mea, vita mea. (from the letter to Kovalinskii) He sat and feasted on cherries, a hawk in the hot sky, which was lit by the golden field at sunset, looked like a pointed tear. Expanding steam mirrored foggy bushes in the turning river. And he put down the pits at his feet (that looked like black and crooked roots) They weren’t heavy, though, at all, as if the juice of movement that used to boil, got extinguished. It froze. And stalks of space were rustling tenderly in that, which was still called a throat, like dry grass, growing in the blood. Yes, that’s me walking—he said—through this grass. His feet felt so light, as if they weren’t his, and he only dreamt of them, an anxious thread, when a wheel made noise, and flour spilled, and the wind was grimly trying to extinguish the heat of candles in the hand and blossoms from an apple tree. He did not forget that people dreamed. And dreams would nest in every body, like birds in sedge, that hatch their chicks, and they scream, making harsh sounds, this is what he remembered, or rather, kept forgetting. And, blissfully embracing the isle of memories, with flowing sands of his glimmering body, he kept eating cherries. And, in the meantime, the hawk was hanging by the sun. And the sun, crimson, like the star of the fields hanging above the roof, was not moving in his snowed-in eyes, even though it was leaving. Red like copper clay stagnated in the wheel tracks and he kept walking the road of astonishment with a handful of cherries in his fist, indeed, the effort was laughable. And the one who lit the road of his return above the hills with the moon crescent, out of his benevolence, whose measure got no measure, allowed him not to think of himself in the transparent harvest hour, and just listened to Hryhory’s spirit, which was burning the shreds of torture, as if he was stretching the branches of childhood towards the life-giving stinger in the arm of the reaper, glittering like the morning Sun. To go down and not to know of anything again. 1973