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September 2018

The Past in the Present: Writing from Georgia

Image: Alex Berdysheff, “Consonance” (cropped), oil on canvas, 110 X 120 cm, 2013. By arrangement with the artist.

This month we bring you literature from Georgia. Contemporary Georgian literature is informed by the country’s tumultuous past, and the writers here demonstrate how fiction, poetry, and memoir both reflect and shape a national culture. In warfare private and public, Teona Dolenjashvili’s childless couple find themselves in an unexpected custody battle, and former war correspondent Beka Kurkhuli sends a political activist into a bloody conflict. Career civil servant Gela Charkviani is diplomatic in his memories of advising Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze. The great Naira Gelashvili eavesdrops on a star-struck couple straight out of a nineteenth-century romance. And in poetry, Lela Samniashvili finds the past always present, and Irakli Kakabadze comforts the survivors of the horrific Beslan School siege. Guest editor Gvantsa Jobava’s insightful introduction describes the historical, political, and cultural backdrop against which these diverse authors are writing. Elsewhere, we mark the first anniversary of John Ashbery’s death with poetry and prose in his honor.

Exporting Georgian Literature

Georgian writers have always had a powerful influence on the nation’s consciousness, and this is as true now as it was in the past.

Meskhi vs. Meskhi

He has never looked less like a potential father.


Military Drills

Who can escape his own charisma


A Run in My Stocking

I know there is the curse of god and the curse of being human


Shevardnadze and Me: The Beginning

All I had to do was wait for the right circumstances.


The Children of Beslan (To My Children)

We left toys with wilted smiles on the beds


Seventeen Poems by Iaki Kabe

It had rained, The lilacs were rejoicing.


Little Dipper

“I’ve been dreaming about this all my life, to kiss the Little Dipper."


The Killer

He swam through the thick white sea and he could no longer feel his heart.



Book Reviews

Intimate Experience Feels At Once Palpable and Remote in Jin Eun-Young’s “We, Day by Day”

Reviewed by Peter Campion

"We, Day By Day" is Jin Eun-Young’s first full collection published in English. Early on, she encountered Korean poetry of the 1980s and its spirit of political protest and carried the conviction and intensity of those verses into more mysterious, interior realms.

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