The Kremlin Walls of Harvard
Subject: Re: Philip Nikolayev, _Artery Lumen_ (poetry)
From: nikolay@scws40.HARVARD.EDU (Philip Nikolayev)
Expires: August 30, 1996
Organization: The Kremlin Wall of Harvard
Many thanks to Vance Maverick, Joe Green and Sayan Bhattacharrya for
praising my book of poems! All this high praise from people I highly
respect moves and flatters me tremendously!
Since I have received several requests for info on the book, I thought
I'd make it available to the general public. Unfortunately, I have run
out of complimentary copies and can't afford to buy more copies from
the publisher at the moment and send them out as gifts. To mail-order
_Artery Lumen_ directly, please send check or money order ($6 (US) in
North America, $7 (US) elsewhere; prices include shipping and
Barbara Matteau Editions
PO Box 381280
Cambridge, MA 02238, USA
(Please mention my name, Philip Nikolayev, or book title, _Artery
Readers in Cambridge, please note that the book is now available at
Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square.
Please don't forget to let me know what you think of the book!
> Vance Maverick writes:
> Readers of r.a.b. will remember Philip, most recently, I think, from
> the "Philosophy of Poetry" battle. He has sent me his first
> collection, a chapbook published for the winner of a competition.
> There are 21 poems, and the collection is a pleasure throughout.
> Philip writes in compact regular forms (sonnets, quatrains, a sort
> of rhyme royal), but the density of verbal invention drowns or
> transfigures anything canned in their flavor. (But leaves him free to
> remember their history: "Purgatory in Boston" remembers two of Eliot's
> modes.) For a taste, here is "Botanical Malaise":
> Vaingloriously, magnolias display
> cascading galaxies of lisping light.
> Forsythias at the formal clubs indict
> the cheaper tastes of the jeunesse dore'e.
> The blatant dogwood spills about the white
> bouquets of an expensive Chardonnay.
> Immodesties like these infuse our May
> with almost theological delight.
> A boring, brooding bastard, why must I
> invest these vistas with a jaundiced eye,
> now crack sour jokes, now gab like a hillbilly,
> then like your local madman on his beat,
> smell lurking gloom in each enchanted street
> of time beatified illiberally?
> He tends admirably toward "decadence", in the sense that detail is so
> relished as to obscure the whole; the reason I like his "Ill Day"
> (after Mandelstam), perhaps better than anything else in the book, is
> its accommodation of this packed style to a strong swift form. (I
> wonder how close it is to the original -- I can't remember anything so
> strong in the few translations of M's poetry I've read.) But the rest
> of the poems are well distinguished from the formalist crowd by their
> sheer resource. Does he live in English, or occupy it? He wears it
> with a flashy ease, a foreigner's optimism and possibility that
> should be the envy of natives.
> Philip Nikolayev, _Artery Lumen_. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Barbara
> Matteau Editions, 1996. ($6. ISBN 0-9645516-1-6.) Some of the
> pieces have appeared elsewhere, e.g. a recent issue of _Exquisite