Russian For Lovers reviewed in the Columbia Spectator

From the Columbia Spectator:

The poems of Marina Blitshteyn, SoA ’11, are more than just letters on a page—they are visual and performance art. On Feb. 24, KGB Literary Bar in the East Village celebrated the release of “Russian for Lovers,” a new book of poems from Blitshteyn, a current Columbia MFA poetry student. In “Russian for Lovers,” Blitshteyn’s melodies of syllables and silences lead readers through the Russian alphabet from “A” to “Я.”

Published by Argos Books, “Russian for Lovers” is all about Blitshteyn’s passion for language. She uses poetry to translate her native culture to an American audience. Each poem relates to the way a letter of the Russian alphabet either sounds or looks.

As an undergraduate at the University at Buffalo, Blitshteyn became involved in poetry slams. “I want to find that balance between what looks good on the page and what sounds good to read,” she said. “Russian for Lovers” includes concrete poems that form shapes with the breaks between words and thoughts. She remembers becoming interested in the power of silence during her sophomore year of college and said, “I think it visually gives room to breathe. It gives you time to take in things you might overlook.”