Of Politics and Pandemics:
Songs of a Russian Immigrant
Of Politcs and Pandemics
Songs of a Russian Immigrant
by Maxim D. Shrayer
5.25x8, 74 pages
Available from the
publisher and Amazon.
Writing in the vibrant voice of "A Russian Immigrant" and employing a rich variety of poetic forms, award-winning author and Boston College professor Maxim D. Shrayer offers thirty-six interconnected poems about the impact of election-year politics and COVID-19 on American society. Through a combination of biting satire and piercing lyricism, Of Politics and Pandemics delivers a translingual poetic manifesto of despair, hope, love, and loss.
Praise for Of Politics and Pandemics
"Whether lobbing satiric barbs at presidential hopefuls or pondering the bonds of marriage and family in a time of pandemic, Shrayer's collection, at once lyrical and playful, captures the predicament of a Russian immigrant in Trump-era America with delicious wit and timely acuity."
—Andrew Sofer, poet and Professor of English, Boston College, author of Wave and Dark Matter
"Shrayer's new collection of poems is a splendid achievement, and just what the doctor ordered for readers reeling from the double assault of political upheavals and raging pandemic. Shrayer's poems are not only personal, but also culturally rich and politically astute—a rare combination in lyric poetry."
—Anna Brodsky-Krotkina, Professor of Russian Studies, Washington & Lee University and columnist, Nezavisimaya gazeta
"Reality and memory, everyday life and the absolute of destiny, feelings, fears and hopes, the pandemic present and the historical past, are all split apart and reconnected in the course of Shrayer's poetical dialogue with himself and others."
—Stefano Garzonio, poet and Professor of Slavic Studies, Pisa University, Editor of Poesia Russa (2004) and Lirici Russi dell'Ottocento (2011)
"I like humor. As the philosopher once said, "I find it funny." And there is plenty to turn a smile in this collection. At points I even found myself laughing out loud. Only soon after to be confronted with moments of deep despair. You can't live in America at the moment and not find yourself taken aback by the laughable craziness of some things and the incredible desperation of others. Shrayer captures that feeling so well. Without much fanfare, he also makes an urgent case for the thinking person and for a return to decency and civility in our leaders - to which I say: here's to that!"
—Graeme Harper, Editor, New Writing: the International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing and author of Discovering Creative Writing
"As a scholar and author of fiction (in English and Russian), Maxim D. Shrayer has distinguished himself with a rare ability for engaging storytelling. The direct and often disarming story told in his debut collection of English-language poems is that of doubts and tribulations of an opinionated lyrical persona. What differentiates this collection from much of the purely topical writings of the day is its author's ability to relate personal, often very private experiences to more general issues such as election politics and the pandemic. Shrayer also breathes new life into such "old-fashioned" stanzaic structures as terza rima (based on its interpretation by Shelley is his "Ode to the West Wind") and sonnet. In doing so, Shrayer achieves an equilibrium between passion and reason, conviction and contemplation."
—Igor Vishnevetsky, author of Leningrad and Sergei Prokofiev.