Pictures at an Exhibition: A Petersburg Album by Philip Metres is here! It’s the winner of the 2014 Akron Poetry Prize, as selected by Maxine Chernoff, and it is downright amazing. Get your own copy, and enjoy.
Wrestling with the questions of travel, memory, and perception, Pictures at an Exhibition: A Petersburg Album is, at its core, an unrequited love song to St. Petersburg. The fever dream of Peter the Great, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, and Akhmatova, St. Petersburg is the occasion for a broader meditation on all we come to love and lose. Pictures began as a journal notebook in 2002, as the poet tried to capture this spectacle-rich and memory-laden city that he had visited ten years before. Scored to the movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s legendary suite—a work of art elegizing a lost friend, the artist Hartmann—Pictures marks, and sometimes sings, the incommensurability of word and world.