Factory of Tears

Book Digest If you can point to the globe and find Belarus, more power to you. Poet Valzhyna Mort is a Belarusian cultural nationalist, well-regarded and -awarded in Europe. She now lives in the U.S. and this bilingual edition is her first tome published in this country. The New Yorker noted: “Mort…strives to be an envoy for her native country, writing with almost alarming vociferousness about the struggle to establish a clear identity for Belarus and its language.” From “Belarusian I”:
even our mothers have no idea how we were born
how we parted their legs and crawled out into the world
the way you crawl from the ruins after a bombing
we couldn’t tell which of us was a girl or a boy
we gorged on dirt thinking it was bread
and our future
a gymnast on a thin thread of the horizon
was performing there
at the highest pitch
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