Kasia Ioffe – Шыба без шкла (Glassless window-frame)


Kasia Ioffe – Шыба без шкла (Glassless window-frame)
Illustration: Ksenija Anhiełava
hochroth Minsk
Berlin, 2023
ISBN 978-3-949850-40-0
Languages: Belarusian, Russian, Polish

A window-frame without glass is something upsetting and surprising. It forces you to stop your movement and thoughts, to touch the painful image that appears on the cover in the form of a title. This image accompanies you while traveling through the pages. For Kasia Ioffe, Belarusian poet, translator and psychotherapist, this book became a place of self-reflection and contact with the reader.

This contact happens beyond the boundaries, the first of which is linguistic. The book contains poems in Belarusian, Russian, Polish, some works mention Ukrainian and Yiddish.

But “beyond boundaries” is not only about language or even geography. It is a matter of mental distance, which is also overcome. The book was created in conditions of relocation, taking into account the Belarusian experience of 2020, extremely tragic, but not destructive. This is seen in the system of images, where hyper-naturalistic metaphors, like twisted joints, are healed by the natural element, combining the natural and the social. The phonetics of the lines are built on the beating of sounds, repetitions, and the author’s neologisms with pieces of meaning. Behind all this, there is the figure of the narrator. She does not separate herself from the artistic universe with its fragile hope, which can exist only next to “white, red, white pain, waiting, pain.”

Kasia Ioffe (Kaciaryna Nowinski, formerly Kaciaryna Kavalonak-Hłuchoŭskaja, officially Hłuchoŭskaja) is a Belarusian poet, psychotherapist and translator. Born in Minsk on June 2, 1995. Her poems have been in print since 2009, starting with the “Дзеяслоў” magazine. Member of the Belarusian PEN Center since 2021. After the 2020 protests, Ioffe had to leave Belarus. Lives in Kraków since the fall of 2020. Founder of the festivals “Культура на выгнанні” (“Culture in Emigration”) at Villa Decius, “Зіма па-беларуску” (“Winter in Belarusian”) and “Тыдзень Дзядоў” (“Forefathers’ Week”). One of the main organizers of the Letucień Picnic. Since 2023, Ioffe has been the founder and chairwoman of the Belarusian society “Krok” (“The Step”), engaged in the preservation and development of the Belarusian culture.