Poet Lore and The Writer’s Center present a FREE virtual chat about the craft of poetry! We’re joined by Alina Pleskova to discuss her debut collection, Toska. Alina is in conversation with Emily Holland, poet and editor of Poet Lore.
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Alina Pleskova is a poet, editor, and Moscow-born immigrant turned proud Philadelphian. Her first full-length poetry collection, Toska, was published by Deep Vellum in June 2023. She co-edits bedfellows magazine and is a 2020 and 2022 Leeway Foundation grant awardee, as well as the author of the chapbook, What Urge Will Save Us (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2017.) Her writing has appeared in American Poetry Review, swamp pink, Peach Mag, Jewish Currents, the tiny, and elsewhere. More at: alinapleskova.com
About the Book
Toska explores a sense of rootlessness and a sort of anti-nationalism; how the pervasive sense of being an immigrant or “in but not of” a place never quite dissipates, particularly amid the dissonance and alienation felt within U.S. culture gunning towards a vision of imperialist capitalist white supremacist hegemony. Still, within this bleak reality, there’s an insistence on documenting and noticing the multivalence of desire — its delights and pitfalls alike. These poems come to the weary conclusion, time and time again, that sexual liberalism/liberation and hedonism are only one sort of revelation — that this sort of openness and exploration isn’t enough to save anyone from despair or the existentially weary feeling of toska from which the title takes its name. But desire is not just Eros — the poems carry a strong desire for a different world, for everyone.