Poetry of Gennadij Ajgi: Investigation into Textual Complexities

Sergei Sychov, University of Michigan

Gennadij Ajgi is perhaps one of the most intriguingly original Russian poets of the second half of the twentieth century. Ajgi's conceptual complexity and stylistic extravaganza has called forth a great number of essays exploring his poetics. In most cases, however, Ajgi's work still receives a somewhat introductory treatment. This is due to the fact that the substantial part of his voluminous oeuvre reached the reader years after if had been produced. This paper offers a more focused investigation into Ajgi's textuality via "immanent" analysis and interpretation.

Normally, the immanent (intratextual) analysis of any given poem rests upon the initial understanding of the poem as a whole, while tending to our interest in its elements, that, in the end, may (or may not) contribute to a better/different understanding of the entire work. The process of the synthesis (interpretation) of a poem is called upon when the work is "not lucid," "difficult," "demanding". Here, we have to move from the parts to the whole, in a direction opposite of the analysis. The examination of idiosyncrasies of the elements and their relations is critical to the holistic understanding of the poem.

I will address the notorious complexity of Ajgi's poetry by putting under scrutiny the textual elements of his two early poems: "son: poxod za kerosinom," and "son: polet strekozy".(from Stepen'-Ostoiki (1964–65), from Otmechennaja Zima. Sintaksis. Paris. 1982) By doing so, I will attempt to explore (and restore) the interpretative process and thus try to detect the origins of the poetic complexity, which, I believe, should be attributed to the act of synthesizing/cognizing of the "demanding" poetry.