I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized On the Waves of the Surreal

On the Waves of the Surreal

Tim Murphy
The Flying Dutchman, by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Glagoslav Publications, 254 pp, €21.99, ISBN: 978-1911414872 Despite the influence of writers like Jonathan Swift and JM Synge on the early development of the movement, it is noticeable that few, if any, Irish writers were out-and-out surrealists. Samuel Beckett, Brian Coffey and George Reavey, for example, were modernists with strong surrealist tendencies, and other Irish writers – Flann O’Brien is the most obvious example – incorporated surreal elements on an episodic basis. But literary surrealism really came to Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century from original and translated French works by writers like David Gascoyne. The Irish tradition has recently received a new lease of life through the work of the Moscow-born and Dublin-based Russian-Irish writer, editor, translator and publisher, Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Born in Moscow and educated at the Moscow Medical Academy, Kudryavitsky was a black-listed samizdat writer whose poetry and short stories were first published openly in Russia in 1989. He left Russia in the late 1990s and lived briefly in Germany before moving to his current Dublin location. He is best known in Ireland as a haiku poet – he has published three books of haiku in English, and is currently the editor of Shamrock, Ireland’s haiku journal. In recent years, however, his poetic attention has shifted to surrealist poetry, and in 2017 he launched the online magazine SurVision. This is currently the only international magazine devoted exclusively to surrealist poetry, and it was followed in 2018 by SurVision Books, an imprint that has already published an impressive range of titles by Irish and international surrealist poets such as Helen Ivory, George Kalamaras, Noelle Kocot, Anton G Leitner, Ciaran O’Driscoll and John W Sexton. In 2019, the American publishing house MadHat Press will bring out Kudryavitsky’s own collection of surrealist prose poems, The Two-Headed Man and the Paper Life. The publication in English of Kudryavitsky’s third novel, The Flying Dutchman, is another significant event for the Irish surrealist tradition – even if all the events in the novel, which is set in the 1970s, take place in Russia. Konstantin Alpheyev, a well-known Russian musicologist, finds himself in trouble with the KGB, the Soviet-era secret police, after the death of his girlfriend, Beta. Gamma, an old friend of Alphaeyev and Beta, turns out to have been responsible. After Gamma reveals that he works for the KGB, he tries but fails to murder Alpheyev, who instead causes…

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