Gennady Aygi is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost contemporary poets. His work has been translated into some twenty languages, and he has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize. In the late 1950s, Boris Pasternak and Nazim Hikmet urged Aygi to switch from writing in his mother tongue, Chuvash, to Russian. It was not until the 1960s that he was first published in Eastern Europe, and not until the late 1980s that his poems were allowed to be openly published in the Soviet Union and Chuvashia, an autonomous republic in the middle Volga valley where he was born in 1934.
Books of his available in the U.S. include Selected Poems: 1954-1994(Angel Books/Nortwestern University Press), Salute-To Singing(Zephyr Press), and just published in April 2003, Child-and-Rose(New Directions Publishing).
Peter France, professor emeritus at Edinburgh University, has been Aygi's translator and friend for nearly thirty years. He has translated many books by Aygi, including his Anthology of Chuvash Poetry, and has also translated Blok, Pasternak, Brodsky, and Chukhonstev. Other books of his include Poets of Modern Russia, The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French, and The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation.