Experimental Poetic Fiction Modeled on Pushkin’s Evgeny Onegin
“It is a deep pleasure to reopen this book, a book of estrangement, of fragmentation, of scattered light and scattered speech, of bridges of sense cast over waters of foreignness. Oxota records a trusting encounter between two poetries across cultural difference unimaginable today.” —Eugene Ostashevsky, editor of Arkadii Dragomoshchenko’s Endarkenment
Between 1983 and 1991 author Lyn Hejinian visited the USSR seven times, often staying with her friends the poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and his wife Zina in Leningrad. She decided to write a novel reflecting her experiences of literary and lived life in Leningrad and Moscow, and cognizant of a general sense that the Russian novel is stereotypically “long,” she determined that hers would be “short.” The result is an experimental novel whose structure (284 chapters, each 14 lines long) pays homage to Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (generally regarded to be the first Russian novel: a verse novel composed in 14-line stanzas). Oxota (which means variously “huntress,” “hunt,” and “desire” in Russian) is a novel in which contexts, rather than contents, are kept in the foreground.
LYN HEJINIAN is a poet, essayist, teacher and translator. She is John F. Hotchkis professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley
March 5, 2019
292 pp. 6 x 8″
Paperback, $18.95 978-0-8195-7876-1