Reviews for The Petrov Poems by Lesley Lebkowicz
What a handsome book The Petrov Poems is: black and white illustrations of le Carré-like spies at beginning and end, and lovely fat paper. Pitt Street Poetry is making beautiful books.
Lesley Lebkowicz’s impeccably researched collection should be entered in history prizes as well as poetry ones; she turns history from dry events into ones as well-fleshed out as Volodya himself. For, history is both a narrative and a series of poems.
Sometimes a fine poet rescues political scandal from the tabloids and the television soundbite. She reveals the mythic power and psychological complexity in these public dramas. From Homer’s ancient epics to Canadian writer Anne Carson’s contemporary re-tellings of Greek tragedy, these writers remind us of the complex human depths in the stories that media often reduce to mere surfaces.
Canberra poet Lesley Lebkowicz has done just this with her wonderful verse-novel The Petrov Poems. In her spare and vivid voice, the married Soviet spies who defected to Australia in April 1954 emerge as haunted individuals shaped by forces they barely fathom. The choices they make, while consciously considered, also seem to be the result of an inexorable fate they cannot escape.
Joyce Kornblatt The Universal Heart Book Club