Featured poet: Evgueni Bezzubikoff

Sep 14, 2013 Comments Off on Featured poet: Evgueni Bezzubikoff by

Featured poet: Evgueni Bezzubikoff

In the work of Evgueni Bezzubikoff – a Peruvian poet who was born in Huancayo, grew up in Lima, and moved to New York in 2001 – nameless first-person narrators navigate a surreal urban landscape, tracking down remembered loves, haunting strip clubs, and speeding down lonely roads with David Bowie on the radio. Their records of what they see and remember are both brutal and self-consciously romantic. (At one point, Bezzubikoff described to me the effect he aims for as ‘a routine or colloquial language with certain touches of preciosity.’)

My correspondence with Bezzubikoff over the last few months, when I translated some of his poems for the UK-based project Palabras Errantes, has been eclectic but always full of warmth and interest. Emails discussed tweaks to specific phrases, Borges’ wife, the Morgan Library seal collection, and Bezzubikoff’s experiments with 3D photography. One March afternoon in Cambridge I received a package containing his first two books, along with a note in gorgeous calligraphic script; later Bezzubikoff said of these poems that ‘sometimes I see them as a stage, not only in my work, but also in my life.’

Recently back from a hike through Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, next month Bezzubikoff will start an MFA in Creative Writing at New York University. His third collection of poetry, Los disparos, was recently launched at La Familia bookstore in Lima; translations of two selections from this work are printed below.

– Jessica Sequeira


The leaps


Today I dreamt of Lima,
An immense and dirty city. Everything was weary
And everything looked ochre against the multi-coloured
Houses thrown like a handful of dice
In the landslide of a path;
I had returned with my father.
He pointed out the solid rubber plant, the streets
Breaking off into dark alleys
That never end.
We went to Callao Avenue, which in my dream bordered
the United States. I watched many
Leap over the water to cross it.
Some made it to the American coast.
Others turned back. I, wrapped up
Against the fog and cold,
Didn’t know how to turn back.


The accomplices

You have come with me.


Nearby my heart lies

Twisted by a psychopathic moon.

(In the strip club we look at all those long clean


Do not ask the street, the hour. The daring space.

Now that my labourer’s life has finished you sit at home, to write to yourself.

Dawn crosses the sky

Silently, without the shouts of the sun. Rainy,

(Sad in a simple way like Lima.)

Even in the most violent bars, even though I’ve known your hand over ten years,

You can still raise my blood.

And when I discover a girl under the navel

It is you I feel in your fullness, with gratitude.

As you see, we are always—

Even given the assassinations and inert bodies

Lying in the alleyways of the heart,

Even given the fact that I am me,

A cadaver devoured by fury and cynicism—

Always tying ourselves together, always accomplices.


VL English

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