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ISBN 978-1-909585-43-0
First published November 2021; 64 pp
paperback; 210 x 135mm
click here to read a pdf excerpt.
Caroline Clark lived for ten years in Moscow, where she met Andrei. They moved to Montreal for six years and now live in her hometown of Lewes. She works as a Russian translator and community interpreter. Her first collection is Saying Yes in Russian (Agenda Editions).

Caroline Clark, Sovetica

     I first watched Lassie
     when I was very small.
     It was just about a dog
     so they showed it. But
     we saw America. How
     beautiful it was. For
     some reason they let
     us see everything we
                     didn’t have.

These are the stories of one boy’s adolescence in the USSR.

Sovetica grew from Caroline Clark’s fascination with a handful of stereo slides made by her Russian husband in the 1980s. Her unforced retelling of his memories – recorded, translated and transformed – together with the photographs bring to the page a way of life that is both humdrum and the stuff of legend.

Afterword by David Rose

‘Through its focus on food, clothes, and domestic life, Caroline Clark’s Sovetica masterfully transforms stories from her husband’s childhood and teenage experience in late Soviet Russia into fascinating poems that take us on a behind-the-scenes journey to the last years of state socialism.’
     – Alexey Golubev, author of The Things of Life: Materiality in Late Soviet Russia

‘This collection is something of a curiosity, comprising photographs of the author’s Russian husband’s adolescence in the Soviet Union together with his memories recast as poems. It’s a bold and unique undertaking, and one that provides highly personal insights into the social history of the last days of the USSR through his experiences as a child and teenager, recalled in a different era but recorded (by virtue of stereo slides from the 1980s) contemporaneously. It all makes for a fascinating and endlessly satisfying read.’
     – Jeremy Page, The Frogmore Papers

‘Caroline Clark makes it so I can smell it, not least because the voice is so attractive and artless-seeming. Something universal about how we are in school, too, whether in Russia or in Rotherham: the bad haircuts (I loved the haircut poems), the jackets, the little attempts to make ourselves look cool (thin ties) … I was moved, in several directions: inwards, outwards, backwards in time and into my present.’
     – Patrick McGuinness

‘I like these poems for their sharp but calm humour and precise detailing.’ – Peter Riley

Includes 20 colour and black-&-white

FRIDGE MAGNETS! For as long as stock lasts, a fridge magnet (60 x 60mm) will be sent with each order of Sovetica from this page. There are two, each showing a photograph from the book: if you want to choose which, email after placing your order. (Or buy two copies and get both.)