I write poems both in English and Russian, but for some reason I like my English poems more. As for reading poetry I like reading Russian poetry more than reading poetry in English. Weird. Philip Larkin is my favorite English-speaking poet. I lived in the States when I was 12 (now I’m 32), then we returned to Russia. 15 years after that I studied abroad (in English) in Germany and UAE. Pursued a PhD in Computer Science but quit. I am not bilingual but I do my best to use English as much as I can in everyday life simply not to lose it and be able to express myself in it. I remember after we returned to Moscow and I went to a Russian speaking school again, in a few years time it became extremely hard to find the right words in English… Although I could understand English well, I lost the ability to express myself. I remember, that upset me a lot and it just didn’t feel right… All my poems are illustrated by my favorite contemporary artist Chris Carter. That’s what Chris wrote me after giving me permission to use her art:
“I believe there is an artist within each and every one of us. It is that part of us that processes the way we experience life and expresses, in its own unique way, what that experience has been. Whether we allow that inner artist to play a major role in our life (as others see us) or only a small, private, slice of our life, doesn’t really determine whether or not one is an artist. By acknowledging that inner poet, you nourish that inner poet and the creative energy flows more freely into every part of your life and the lives of those around you. The world needs far more of that creative flow and will be better for both the tidal waves of creativity and the drips and dribbles of creativity. Please consider yourself an artist, at least to yourself, otherwise you are judging that essential part of you unfairly and it won’t thrive. When and if you retire, will you think of yourself as a software engineer or will you think of yourself as Olga, a woman who expresses her life as an engineer, woman, lover, daughter, etc. through poetry.”
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