We stand in awe of anyone who can write, or even speak, a new language. It's just hard; triple points if the alphabet is different. But to publish writing in a second (or third or what-have-you) language is above and beyond. To publish poetry in a language other than one's first elevates a person to some status we don't even have a name for yet, but it makes us think of the end of the Matrix, when Neo suddenly understands how things work, and can flip around in dimensionally different ways than before. Polina Barskova has written seven books of poetry, most in her native Russian, The Zoo in Winter is her latest, it's in English, and she's under 40. There should be a word for that kind of language mastery, but if there is, we don't know it. Could ask Barskova, she probably knows.
Tue., Feb. 15, 7 p.m., 2011