The Irish Times declares Valzhyna Mort “A risen star of the international poetry world.” Mort is famed throughout Europe — and now the U.S. — for her vibrant reading performances. Mort, born in Minsk, Belarus (former Soviet Union), in 1981, made her American debut in 2008 with a poetry collection Factory of Tears (Copper Canyon Press), co-translated by the husband-and-wife team of Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright and Pultizer Prize-winning poet Franz Wright.
A Poem About White Apples
white apples, first apples of summer,
with skin as delicate as a baby’s,
crispy like white winter snow.
your smell won’t let me sleep,
this is how dead men
haunt their murderers’ dreams.
this is how every july the earth
gets heavier under your weight.
and here only garbage smells like garbage . . .
and here only tears taste like salt . . .
we were picking them
like shells in green ocean gardens,
having just turned away from mothers’ breasts
we were learning
to get to the core of everything with our teeth.
so why are our teeth like cotton wool now . . .
in black waters, the fishermen,
nursed by you, are drowning.
Translated by Franz Wright and Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright
- “An American Debut.” Poets & Writers. 11 April 2008.
- Interview with Ian Engelberger. Green Hill. 11 April 2008.
- “Closer to the Water,” Interview with Angela Elam. New Letters. 2013.
Reading with Nikola Madzirov and Ilya Kaminsky | March 29, 2011