A. Molotkov was born in Russia and moved to the US in 1990. He switched to writing in English in 1993. His previous poetry collections are The Catalog of Broken Things and Application of Shadows. Published in Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Antioch Review, Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Bennington Review, Tampa Review, Pif, Volt, and many more, Molotkov is the winner of various fiction and poetry contests and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. His translation of a Chekhov story was included by Knopf in their Everyman Series. He co-edits The Inflectionist Review and writes poetry on Wednesday nights, dedicating other evenings to prose. Please visit him at AMolotkov.com.
photo credit: Laura Stahman
Synonyms for Silence: Poems
Molotkov’s third poetry collection, Synonyms for Silence, traverses a terrain of terror and wonder. These sharp, brief lyrics and prose poems subject the world to ethical and metaphysical scrutiny, examining the familiar as well as the unknowable aspects of human existence and contrasting our transient chemical reality with our ability to manifest meaning.
This is a book in which the dead speak, grief is a bird, bombs turn to petals, scars become bridges, and snowflakes remember their last melting. Through his use of potent, sometimes perplexing metaphors and vivid, often surreal imagery, Molotkov places us in the moment of choice, of truth, of suffering, and honors it with tenderness and care, offering solace through our shared humanity.
I envy air, its discrete non-involvement
with our vision, except to paint the sky
a fake blue, or to serve as a canvas
for dawn. I wish I could summon myself
invisibly like the wind. I wish I could be
cleared. What wouldn’t I give for a little
transparency. Even polluted, I will not
complain. Even cancer is part of me. In the end,
I will be smoke over your city. I envy
the spaces between things.
Lit from the Basement podcast on A. Molotkov’s poem “Lightening” LINK HERE
104 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-946724-14-4 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-946724-15-1 (e-book)
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Praise for Synonyms for Silence
Some poets will revel in the orgiastic wordplay emboldened by the indulgence of the ego; others—and Molotkov is decidedly in this camp—will attempt to elevate perspective by the subjugation of the self. The poems in this collection create feeling not by painting whimsical pictures, or reaching for sentimental triggers. The poet uses stark realities as landmarks in a reconnaissance effort that strives to leave behind the whimsy and sentimentality that is the breathable atmosphere of the ego. It feels like a search for meaning and I don’t suppose poetry could have any higher calling. —Joyless House Book Reviews