Illustration of a Man With White Birds and Smoke

On "Outside Yet Another Window"

Eugene Dubnov

The poem “Outside Yet Another Window” was written at the beginning of 1984 when I worked for the BBC Monitoring Service in Reading as a Russian monitor listening in to Soviet radio broadcasts. I’d left the Soviet Union in 1971 at the age of twenty one; my monitoring work brought back many memories, images and words from my childhood and youth, with the immediacy of all my senses, alert, bared, vulnerable.

Born in Estonia, brought up in Latvia and educated in Moscow, in all of which snow and ice lasted up to five or even six months a year and winter sports were popular, I missed those winters painfully in England where the Gulfstream set most of the tone.

As for skating as a symbol of creative effort, rather similar to birch-bending for Robert Frost, Mandelstam in his poem “On the Death of Andrei Bely” used this image to a great effect. In this sense I see my poem as belonging to the same poetic tradition.

Eugene Dubnov

Eugene Dubnov: Born in Tallinn; left the Soviet Union in 1971; educated Moscow and London Universities (Psychology and English Lit); taught English, American and Russian Literature; Writer-in-Residence at Carmel College, Oxfordshire (1984-87); Wingate Scholar, London (1990-92). Two volumes of verse in Russian published in London (1978; 1984); THE THOUSAND-YEAR MINUTES, a bi-lingual poetry collection, from Shoestring Press (UK) in 2013. Verse and prose in English translation and written in English in periodicals in Britain, USA, Canada and elsewhere, as well as in several European, North American, and Australian anthologies; nine short stories broadcast on BBC Radio 3. NEVER OUT OF REACH, autobiography written in English, from Clemson and Liverpool University Presses in 2015. Work appeared also in other languages.