Poetry. ALPHA DONUT: The Selected Shorter Works of Matvei Yankelevich collects poems and prose texts written over the course of the first eleven years of the millennium. Alpha Donut rolls out a pastiche of works from several serial projects (such as Writing in the Margin or The Bar Poems) and unpublished fragments that thread together swaths of stand-alone poems. Many of these pieces have appeared in progressive literary journals and little magazines. They are now, for the first time, gathered together in a practical volume for fans and newcomers alike.
"Matvei Yankelevich is a wonderful poet—wonderful in the sense that he is not, to the least degree, enigmatic but always simply and humanly mysterious.... One of my favorite younger poets, he deserves a wide and generous readership in this land fitfully struggling for some sort of smart redemption."—Anselm Hollo
"I feel incredibly close to this book because, in picturing a life lived through writing, it never abdicates the knot of ambivalence & ecstasy such a life necessarily entails. So much of what I love lives here—Mandelstam's ghost, the doomsday clock cigarette that burns throughout the book, cities & friends, drinks & readings. Yet ALPHA DONUT's poems are so prepossessing exactly because they're so restless where affinity is concerned. Matvei registers all the ways in which our affection for anything is often mystifyingly the ground of our trouble. The idea that we seem to be getting from culture, that liking things is somehow equivalent to knowing them, is in every way refuted by the humor, inquiry, & love this book manifests over & over. While the language is clear, its clarity is turned to sing through something elementally illegible foundering in the depths of our feeling: 'This text is written on buttons / so tightly sewn / to each other that no one / can read it.' That's really why I feel so bonded to this book, & why now I can't imagine life without it."—Dana Ward
Author City: BROOKLYN, NY USA
Matvei Yankelevich was born in 1973 in Moscow, USSR, from where his family emigrated to the Boston area in the late 1970s. He is the author of ALPHA DONUT (United Artists Books, 2012) and a previous book—a novella in fragments—BORIS BY THE SEA (Octopus Books, 2009), and several chapbooks: Writing in the Margin (Loudmouth Collective, 2001), The Present Work (Palm Press, 2006), The Nature Poetry of Matvei Yankelevich (Knock-Off, 2010), and Bending at the Elbow (Minutes Books). Yankelevich is a widely published translator of Russian poetry; his translations of the eccentric early 20th Century writer Daniil Kharms have appeared in many journals, including Harpers, The New Yorker, and NEW AMERICAN WRITING, and were collected in Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook, 2007; Ardis/Overlook paperback, 2009). He has taught at the Russian Department of Hunter College, Columbia University School of the Arts, and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. He is a member of the volunteer editorial collective of Ugly Duckling Presse, a nonprofit publisher based in Brooklyn, New York.
Reviews and Other Links
John Yau and Albert Mobilio @ Hyperallergic
author @ PennSound
Alex Estes @ The Brooklyn Rail
John Olson @ Tillalala Chronicles
Michael Gushue @ Open Letters Monthly