Pisces

Andrey Gritsman’s new book of poems is a lonely song about pieces of life left on airports, highways or crossroads of the heart, a dark song of love and ruptures inside the tangled rules of deep waters unifying East and West, the foreign land and the new home, the poetry as a shelter and the poetry as a shield. Gritsman lives fully the dual Pisces sign, heading opposite emotions and paths with the seductive energy and strength. Poems to be read over and over again waiting for the snow to fall quietly and to cover the past illuminating the future. Carmen Firan, author of The Second Life

Andrey Gritsman’s poems are unwavering in their honesty, relentless in their assessment of contemporary life, and clear-eyed in their approach to human love and mortality. We instantly recognize the terrain he is negotiating. Here are the cityscapes that dehumanize us, but in which we increasingly live and must find each other, always in transit, always searching for connections—a night world of trains, cars, planes, largely empty streets, towering buildings and small dives. Perhaps only Gritsman, with his unprejudiced immigrant’s eye, can describe the empty, arid landscape of the American west in his poem, “Las Vegas,” in the following terms: “Mirages in the desert, / floating towards the Pacific,/ condensed fluorescent magma of desire,/ dirt in the surf of civilization,/ vortexed into zero.” These are poems that peer into the abyss behind the official public happiness of American life, the compulsion to be always hopeful, positive and bubbling over with good spirits. That is to say: they are real poems, and make no accommodation with fanciful dreams. Read ‘em, and weep. -Kurt Brown, NYC poet and editor of the anthologies, founder of the Aspen Writers’ Conference

The poems and images in Andrey Gritsman’s Pisces are perfect companions as they hauntingly illuminate one another. This is a book in which the visual component augments the poems rather than merely illustrates them. And the poems are what one has come to expect of Gritsman: moody in the purest sense of the word as the poet broaches a feeling or scene or moment and then tracks it back to a blue murmur of the heart. He hears what he calls “the sounds of disappearance;” he sees the not-thereness that is within thereness. Beautifully ruminative, the poems shimmer darkly as they attempt to grasp what cannot be held, all that swims within “the time being.” Baron Wormser, author of many collections of poetry and a book on teaching poetry.

I just started looking at your new collection of poems.  I really like the poem about an old Moscow building being gone, and the tree that endures it–and it evokes for me the fact that M. Tsetayeva had a similar thing happen (rowanberry tree?).  Just the other day I was walking past the building on W 78th street where we lived so many years ago and it is gone.  A miserable gap in its place and signs of construction.  And your poem evokes this.  Thank you for that.Resa Alboher is a published American writer and editor. She has been a staff member for the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg and a co-editor of St. Petersburg Review.

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