You are currently viewing diabolical laughter off‑stage
John Martin, Illustration for Paradise Lost, Book II Line I, 1827

Language: Russian 
Poet: Roman Osminkin 
Translator: Helena Kernan


diabolical laughter offstage

Exercises from the cycle “Uncreative Writing” by Roman Osminkin, translated by Helena Kernan


Roman Osminkin (b. 1979) is a Saint Petersburg-based poet, performer, and video artist. He has become known as a member of the group Laboratory of Poetical Actionism, founder of Techno-Poetry, author of poetry books Comrade-Thing and Comrade-Word, and winner of the poetry event SLAM SPb in 2006 and 2010, as well as an art critic.

Helena Kernan is a translator and researcher working on contemporary poetry, biopolitics and the documentary mode in the post-Soviet space. She holds an MA degree from the University of Cambridge and is currently a scholar at UC Berkeley. Her translations from Russian have been published by Modern Poetry in Translation, Words Without Borders, Ugly Duckling Presse and Isolarii, and she was chosen as the inaugural Translator in Residence at the Pushkin House/University of Oxford Contemporary Russian Poetry in Translation Residency.

* * *

У настоящего проклятого художника
  может быть лишь одно железное алиби:
если в рынок и канон он был включен
(закадровый инфернальный смех)

* * *

Perhaps a true accursed artist has only one rock-solid 
when he is admitted to the market and the canon
   after his death 
(diabolical laughter off-stage) 

* * *

у кого не замазано/заклеено надкусанное
  яблоко на apple лэптопе – тот не
  современный художник*.

* – те художники, у кого нету
  эйпловского лэптопа просто не
  проходят дресс-код в middle class
  contemporary art club

* * *

you can’t be a contemporary artist* unless you’ve
  taped over the half-bitten apple on your apple

* artists without an apple laptop will be barred for
  not following the dress code at the middle class
  contemporary art club

* * *

закалённое в долгом пути кx
  литературному Олимпуx
позволяло этомуx
  ангажированному поэту
видеть причину попадания вx
  качестве объекта
  исследования в диссертации
  славистов всего мира
не в достоинствах
  собственного творчества,
а в удачной политической
выбрасывающей авторов
  подобных ему на гребень
  актуальности столь же
как и погребающих их под
  своими завалами  

* * *

arrogance tempered on the long road to a
  literary Olympus
allowed this politically-motivated poet
to understand why he became the research
  focus of dissertations of Slavicists the world
not by virtue of his own works
but in a fortuitous political environment that
  throws artists like him onto the crest of the
  zeitgeist just as quickly
as it buries them under its rubble  

* * *

характерной чертой прекария
  является приготовление и
  поедание буржуазного
  завтрака с пролетарской

другой характерной чертой
  прекария является
  приготовление и
  поедание пролетарского
  ужина с буржуазным

* * *

a defining characteristic of precarity is
  preparing and consuming a bourgeois
  breakfast with proletarian speed

another defining characteristic of precarity is
  preparing and consuming
a proletarian
  dinner with bourgeois narcissism