Matvei Yankelevich is a poet, translator, and editor whose books include Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square Editions, 2015), Alpha Donut (United Artists Books, 2012), Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books, 2009), and, most recently, the chapbook From a Winter Notebook (Alder & Frankia). His translations from Russian include Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook) and, with Eugene Ostashevsky, Alexander Vvedensky's An Invitation for Me to Think (NYRB Poets), which received the 2014 National Translation Award. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for Humanities. In the 1990s, he co-founded Ugly Duckling Presse where he edited, designed, and produced a variety of books, chapbooks, periodicals, and broadsides, co-edited 6x6 magazine, and curated the Eastern European Poets Series. He teaches translation and book arts at Columbia University's School of the Arts.
Some Worlds For Dr. Vogt by Matvei Yankelevich
Matvei Yankelevich is a fabulist. In his excellent new book he is singing 'a world in a flash of contours.' The voice is dynamic, and performs in a syncretic register: lyric, narrative, citation, essay, and vaudeville are all present and doing important work to expose us to 'the animation of f-stops.' Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt is a spirited investigation by a truly original and fantastic poet.
In this suite of forty-five poems and occasional epigraphic interpolations, Matvei Yankelevich posits worlds, each an instant of place in motion. Time, site, transience: these are the indelibles of world life. And, as such, under Yankelevich's observant eye and working hand and co-passionate mind, these world instants are closely observed and vastly imagined. For Yankelevich, worlds are intimate challenges. His poems reciprocate. They are inviting—and 'you' to whom the invitation is proffered (o world, o reader, o stranger, o history and now and lock of hair and bee) will find yourself welcomed into conditions that are unnerving and familiar and exquisite.