Valzhyna Mort

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Valzhyna MortThe 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.
white apples,
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 . . .

white apples,
in black waters, the fishermen,
nursed by you, are drowning.

Translated by Franz Wright and Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright



Reading with Nikola Madzirov and Ilya Kaminsky | March 29, 2011