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Anna Moschovakis

Poet, translator, and editor Anna Moschovakis studied philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She then went on to receive her MFA in creative writing at the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College, and her MA in comparative literature (French and American) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

She is the author of three books of poetry, They and We Will Get Into Trouble for This (Coffee House Press, 2016), You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake, winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and I Have Not Been Able to Get Through to Everyone (Turtle Point Press, 2006).

Her translations from the French include Albert Cossery's The Jokers (New York Review Books, 2010), Annie Ernaux's The Possession (Seven Stories Press, 2008), and Georges Simenon's The Engagement (New York Review Books, 2007).

Her awards include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fund for Poetry, and a translation fellowship from Le Centre National du Livre.

Since 2002, Moschovakis has been a member of the publishing collective Ugly Duckling Presse, in the capacity of editor, designer, administrator, and printer. She edits several books each year for Ugly Duckling, and heads up the Dossier Series of investigative texts.

She currently teaches at the Pratt Institute and at Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. She lives in South Kortright, New York, part of the Catskill/Delaware watershed.

By This Poet


Death as a Way of Life [It began:]

It began:

1. Life is not fair
2. How can I be happy while others suffer
3. How can I not be happy while others suffer
4. Others will suffer whether or not I am happy
5. It is not the suffering of others that causes my happiness
6. It is not the not-suffering of others that causes my unhappiness

I have been attracted to the idea that naming is a form of violence
but does that mean we should go around calling everyone Hey You
which seems like another sort of violence
even though it is a way of recognizing the other
as other

What can be said on this point?

Death as a Way of Life [We wonder at our shifting capacities, keep]

We wonder at our shifting capacities, keep
adding and striking skills
from the bottoms of our résumés
under constant revision
like the inscriptions on tombs
shared for generations
unnervingly up
to date

Made nervous by our shift in capabilities, we write:

                    I visited a country where kittens lay dying
                    under every bench, in every gutter, next to
                    every cigarette butt. One made me weep.
                    Tow made me worry. Three made me
                    look away I visited a city with very few
                    strays. The first one I saw I adopted.
                    What could it mean?
                                —posted by Sarah. 6.18.06

Hit "publish" and look away.

The New Violence: I visited a country where
everything looked like home

ninth: a conversation between Annabot and the Human Machine on the subject of overpowering emotion

(Note: Though Annabot is ostensibly downloadable, the attempt to open her produced an error, a string of errors.)

ANNABOT: What now?

HUMAN MACHINE: The Brain, the brain—that is the seat of trouble!

ANNABOT: My brain, whose brain? Those who feel, feel.

HUMAN MACHINE: On the blink?

ANNABOT: Or, discipline. The brain is a machine of habit. The heart is a hell.

HUMAN MACHINE: "The secret of smooth living is a calm cheerfulness which will leave me always in full possession of my reasoning faculty."

ANNABOT: But I am not cheerful.

HUMAN MACHINE: I ought to reflect, again and again, and yet again, that all others deserve from me as much sympathy as I give to myself. I place my hand over your heart.

ANNABOT: I cannot feel your hand.

HUMAN MACHINE: I cannot feel your heart.

This is the language of simple, obvious things
The conclusion and the part before

Anna held her hand out to feel the cold
It was cold

Then, nothing