Anzhelina Polonskaya


Writer in exile. Against the war.

Anzhelina Polonskaya was born in Malakhovka, a small town near Moscow. Since 1998, she has been a member of the Moscow Union of Writers and in 2003, Polonskaya became a member of the Russian PEN-centre. In 2004 an English version of her book A Voice appeared in the acclaimed “Writings from an Unbound Europe” series at Northwestern University Press. This book was shortlisted for the 2005 Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation.

Polonskaya has been published in many journals, including The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, and New England Review.


Andrew Wachtel has served as rector of Narxoz University in Almaty, Kazakhstan and President of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Before coming to Central Asia in 2010, he was dean of The Graduate School and director of the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, his interests range from Russian literature and culture to East European and Balkan culture, history and politics to contemporary Central Asia. He translates from Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Slovene and his book of translations of Anzhelina Polonskaya, Paul Klee’s Boat, was short-listed for the 2014 PEN Poetry Translation Prize.

You sleep. A nightscape

– translated by Andrew Wachtel You sleep. A nightscape. And apple trees, like nuns, stand silently. Empty branches, without gifts. Why did you come in tattered clothes, as if atoning for someone else’s guilt? You won’t find penance here. Life without words. No one above the lamp tearing the light into dry strips to beg, “save me.” A distant train, like a spasm in the heart, carries everyone else off, to the point of no return.