I had already started writing my first commentary for Jacket2. But then I had to begin again.
Earlier today I learnt of the passing of a great poet and a friend: Arkadii Dragomoshchenko.
I discovered on the weekend that Arkadii was seriously unwell. As a result, I dedicated the launch party for my book A Common Strangeness that we held in Dunedin, New Zealand, on Monday to him. As part of the launch, the New Zealand poet Cilla McQueen read the first part of his long poem “A Nasturtium as Reality” alongside her own poem “Photon.” It was just the latest in a long line of cross-cultural encounters generated by Arkadii’s work.
It was with great sadness that I heard this heartbreaking news. From when I first met Arkadii in the 1980s, to his semester-long stay with his wife Xena in Buffalo in the early 1990s, to Susan, Felix and my visit to St. Petersburg in 2001, to his recent visit to New York and to Penn two years ago, I have felt a deep kinship with Arkadii, a poetic and personal affinity that goes beyond any national or linguistic borders. A great companion in life and poetry has left the earth but not the world.
ATD's death was reported about three hours ago on Facebook by Alexander Skidan and Mikhail Iossel.