A L E X E I P A R S H C H I K O V
Three writers collaborated, wittingly or no, on what follows. In chronological order, then, the first was Alexei Parshchikov, who graciously supplied the source material and a rudimentary interlinear; the first half of which I discarded as unreadable (if not unwriteable). I was the second. I “translated” the back half of the poem based on Parshchikov's interlinear, editorial feedback from the poet Eugene Ostashevsky, Altdorfer's Battle of Issus, and my own (demagnetized, perhaps) inner compass. I then recruited our third, a young fellow named Sergey Levchin—for whose subsequent careers as a PhD candidate at Columbia, faux-documentary filmmaker, and train-hopping hobo, I am not, I think, to blame. Sergey was to produce an improved interlinear (with annotations) for the poem's extremely complicated first half. It was so good, I couldn't use it. So I persuaded him to translate a Part One himself instead. Which he did, completely ignoring his own interlinear.
Got all that? Good. What follows is a translation of “Oil,” the latest by Alexei Parshchikov, pioneer of Metametaphorism, and one of the most important Russian poets of the 1980's. Sergey Levchin translated Part One. I did Part Two. After each stanza of Part One, I've dropped an endnote. Every endnote includes both an interlinear text and Sergey's comments on it. Personally, I think they're fascinating. Had I kept my editorial volleys with Ostashevsky and Parshchikov, I would have included them as well. They were a hoot.
Please don't be fooled by all this talk of translation. Translating Parshchikov is like giving a blind man a new pair of sunglasses. Some things are too dark to see.
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