In Berlin, the small publishing house LMVerlag has just brought out, in Russian language, Igor Bobyrev’s poetry book Метро и Мобилизация (‘Metro and Mobilization’), which I had the honor of editing.
You can order your copy (in Russian!) of this limited tamizdat edition at the publisher’s webshop. Translations in German and Dutch will follow in the course of 2023.
About the author
Igor Bobyrev is a Russian-speaking poet who feels he’s caught between two fires. His poems and fate are the poems and fate of a real contemporary poète maudit.
He was born in Donetsk in 1985, where he graduated from the Faculty of History of Donetsk National University. After the outbreak of the war in Donbass, he continued to live in his native city.
He began writing poetry at the age of twenty. His free verse recalls the early works of the Moscow poet Kirill Medvedev (“It’s No Good”), who has had a great stylistic influence on him. He has published in, among other Russian journals, Novy Mir and Volga. In 2016, Translit and the Free Marxist Publishing House published his collection ‘Everyone knows that during the war my apartment was hit by a shell’.
The present collection, entitled Метро и Мобилизация (‘Metro and Mobilization’), consists of poems written during the war and the covid pandemic, from March 2021 to September 2022. They are intimate miniatures about the author’s personal life in a war-torn city. His homosexual adventures are also a recurring theme in his new poetry.
Reviews of Метро и Мобилизация (‘Metro and Mobilization’)
Dmitry Volchek, poet, translator, editor-in-chief of the Russian-language website of Radio Liberty:
“You’re looking at a book written in a city that in 2014 became one of the most dangerous and miserable cities in the world. When death is hunting you, you become a poet to enchant and deceive it.”
Anton Ochirov, poet, artist, curator:
“In the battling city of Donetsk, Igor Bobyrev has found the most important thing: the possibility of a personal speech. This speech, balancing between figures of rhetoric, self-limitations and the assertion of personal ethics, quite amazingly reveals an immediate reality, providing us with both a testimony and a document. It also serves as a vivid confirmation that the poetic ‘project’ contains the option ‘salvation’ – that is, the possibility of survival on the exclusively traumatic roller coaster of our ‘Big History’.”
Kirill Medvedev, poet, activist, publisher:
“Live there, where you cannot live! This is what Dmitry A. Prigov, the classic of Soviet conceptualism, recommended to young poets. The Post-Soviet history, as a fate, did not wait for the poet Igor Bobyrev, and turned his city Donetsk into a place where it is almost impossible to live, and where one can be, if one is persistent enough, completely free in poetry.”