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The Naked


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From the preface by Ilya Kaminsky, author of Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic:

"The Naked World is a magical book, a story of four generations of one family, told through poems and cut through with accounts of Stalin’s Great Terror of the Thirties, wide-ranging meditations, and flashes of childhood memories from the Thaw of the Sixties and the post-Thaw Seventies." 


From a comment by  Chard deNiord, author of InterstatePoet Laureate of Vermont (2015-2019):


In a hybrid of interwoven reminiscences and lyrical poems, Mashinski witnesses to her sense of herself as a “double pariah,” that is, as a Jew who “like a Russian émigré in the 1920s” exists also “as a stateless person with a so-called Nansen passport, stripped naked of national and cultural identity in the new world of her hosts.” ... By finding enduring, literary expression that recounts the details of her remarkable journey, along with the vital legacy of an otherwise lost people, Mashinski redefines American citizenship from a fresh perspective in which she tells an essential human story first before documenting her hard-won, exemplary “destiny.” 



From a comment by D.Nurkse, author of Love in the Last Days: After Tristan and Iseult :

"I live our unlived life," writes Irina Mashinski. In her fascinating new book The Naked World she joins Russia's indispensable memoirists, Nadezhda Mandelstam and Eugenia Ginzburg, clear-eyed witnesses who can escape the trance of collective truth and make history real.<..> Irina Mashinski knows that a witness is the opposite of an onlooker.  The Naked World is a gift and a necessity in our culture of screens and disembodied violence.  



From a comment by Robert Chandler, translator of A. Platonov and  V. Grossman:


"All of us who translate poetry know that our failures greatly outnumber our successes.  A whole collection of beautifully translated poems is a rare event - and few Russian poems have been translated as well as these.  More than that, The Naked World is composed of several different elements - translated poems, freely adapted poems, and poems and prose originally written in English - and these seemingly disparate elements are perfectly integrated.  Irina Mashinski’s English voice is entirely convincing.  Never simplistic, never pointlessly obscure, each poem takes us with gentle confidence to an unexpected place. 


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