Posted by: gdevi | October 8, 2015

2015 Nobel Prize for Literature: Svetlana Alexievich

The Belarussian writer Svetlana Alexievich has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature.

Here is a good Chernobyl poem:


(Chernobyl, 1986)

We worked naked. The old way.

A shovelful – sometimes a handful

at a time. Every mineshaft pisses itself.

But this – this one stank. Something

wrong in the water. And that heat.

As if there was more Earth above you

than below. We came out fainting

like girls. Our black wouldn’t wash.

We knew this was no ordinary ore.

That each grain we dug was worth a life.

We lived for morning. How it gave

delicate colour to the walls of our tunnel.

They filled it with mercury-water —

it thrashed at the sides as Holy Water

in some vein of hell. Liquid air

they said. Or this Reactor will sink

like Atlantis. And now there are those

who will not stand near us. To them

I say — How will you bury us? And so

we are all agreed. All we brothers —

from Kiev. Moscow. Dnepropetrovsk.

We vow to bury one another. This

is impossible they tell us. It cannot

be done. It can. We are miners.

We know how to dig.

— Mario Petrucci (2004)


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