Mikhail Armalinsky

Po obye storoni orgasma
(On Both Sides of Orgasm)

poems in Russian, 150 p., 1988, ISBN 0-916201-04-X; $5

This book of poems by Mikhail Armalinsky is an event unheard-of in Russian poetry. The poetic evolution of Armalinsky's erotic consciousness from 1964 to 1988 is demonstrated in the book. Dr. Paul Setter, historian of literature called him "The Henry Miller of Russian poetry." World Literature Today (USA) has written: "Mikhail Armalinsky has attempted something daring, even startling, in Russian poetry. He writes about love, which is not of course unusual; but he writes also in plain language about sex and sex-without-love, which is unusual for poetry in Russian. His language does not exclude obscenity, and he uses lexical items and turns of phrase which have not been considered possible in serious Russian poetry. It is the combination of these themes and this diction which shocks, and which represents an attempt at a new direction for Russian verse... ... Armalinsky is, to be sure, a craftsman in his art; no matter what the subject matter, he distills purity of feeling and achieves clarity of concept - both of which are so pivotal to good poetry."