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Sovetica by Caroline Clark


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 I first watched Lassie
     when I was very small.
     It was just about a dog
     so they showed it. But
     we saw America. How
     beautiful it was. For
     some reason they let
     us see everything we
                     didn’t have.

These are the stories of one boy’s adolescence in the USSR.

Sovetica grew from Caroline Clark’s fascination with a handful of stereo slides made by her Russian husband in the 1980s. Her unforced retelling of his memories – recorded, translated and transformed – together with the photographs bring to the page a way of life that is both humdrum and the stuff of legend.

Afterword by David Rose

‘Through its focus on food, clothes, and domestic life, Caroline Clark’s Sovetica masterfully transforms stories from her husband’s childhood and teenage experience in late Soviet Russia into fascinating poems that take us on a behind-the-scenes journey to the last years of state socialism.’
     – Alexey Golubev, author of The Things of Life: Materiality in Late Soviet Russia

‘Caroline Clark makes it so I can smell it, not least because the voice is so attractive and artless-seeming. Something universal about how we are in school, too, whether in Russia or in Rotherham: the bad haircuts (I loved the haircut poems), the jackets, the little attempts to make ourselves look cool (thin ties) … I was moved, in several directions: inwards, outwards, backwards in time and into my present.’
     – Patrick McGuinness

‘I like these poems for their sharp but calm humour and precise detailing.’ – Peter Riley

Includes 20 colour and black-&-white 

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