Poets of Latvia: Jeļena Glazova

Jeļena Glazova, the final poet to be featured in our mini poetry festival, is a very modern Russian-language writer and musician. Her cutting-edge poems clearly show a theoretical and exploratory interest in the modern world. She's a master jeweler putting together disparate points of view. The resulting poems are like compound eyes, which help us grasp the madness and folly of our times. 

the last man no longer speaks
all the words have run out
the last man
experimented with language
tamed it with a whip
until only perforated flags
remained
"I was just trying
to make language tell
the truth, and only the truth"
but look what came of it
no one speaks anymore
in the age of post-truth
cities become glaciers
at the park of
frigid ice sculptures
the last man
goes as far away as possible
from all of that
the last man
climbs a milk iceberg
up there
he's struck with milk blindness
the last man
he'll too forget speech soon
or utter the very final word
like a bang
or the turning of gears
there'll be a click
the seething milk will be flooding 
and the ice will melt
"click"
and new
beautiful animals will turn up
much better than the former
flying octopi with bulldogs' heads
two-headed and winged fur seals
fish with the heads of a mouse
monkeys with the heads of toads
(...)
the new animals
will flock around the first man
and ask him
for the first word

The poet speaks:

The beginning is a quote from Elfride Yelinek, a Nobel prize winner, over how she has tried to make language tell only the truth. The words have no meaning but there's still the matter of what the writer can do with them.

The poem is an eschatological vision of the world. Humanity disappears and the new men appear, the new first man. Animals are a reference to the medieval bestiaries and the fantastic animals in them.

It was inspired by the Russian artist community AES+F. They had an installation, Inverso mundus (turn the world around), where they had chimeras, these fantastic animals. It inspired me in that it seemed interesting to me what can I do with the image.

Now there's a period when I often write using culturo-historical allusions. I simply sit down and research the question, so that it would make sense.

The first and the last man are archetypes. There's Nietzsche's last man. Camus talks about him, too. The first and the last men, that's a motif repeatedly found in the history of European literature and philosophy. 

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