Arc Publications logo

50 years at the cutting edge of poetry publishing

“A meeting point for poets of all latitudes”
— Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Review: In My Garden of Mutants, by Volha Hapeyeva

ASLEF Journal, August 2021

Volha Hapeyeva was born in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in 1982 and, in a country where the language you choose to use is a highly charged political act, writes in Belrussian not Russian. In My Garden of Mutants translated by Annie Rutherford, programme co-ordinator of StAnza, the poetry festival held each year at St Andrews, deals with the personal as well as the political, with love as well as death:

before the mirror in the hallway
I use my eyes to remember everything we’ve been through
and it looks at me
for today, once again
I am wearing something that doesn’t quite fit.

These subtle, nuanced poems offer a chance to hear, unmediated, an authentic voice from a nation about which little is known, but which has been in the news this year:

gifts are a strange practice, I think
particularly those from men

perhaps because of Lévi-Strauss?