Lesley . . . has a clear unflinching eye . . . there is a strength in, and an immediate engagement with, these poems.
– Rosemary Dobson on Crossing The Sky
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.
– PS Cottier BMA Magazine Canberra
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
The Petrov Affair
Lesley Lebkowicz’s first poetry collection was Crossing the Sky (Five Islands Press, New Poets Series 8, 2001). She has also published a short fiction collection Washing My Mother’s Hair (Mockingbird 2001). Both these books were published under the name Lesley Fowler.
Her non-fiction work The Way Things Really Are is a collaborative translation of the earliest Buddhist verse cycle, working from literal translations of the Pali by scholars Tamara Ditrich and Primos Pecenko.
Her work is represented in several anthologies. It has appeared on buses and has been installed as part of a public art program in the paving in Canberra City. She was shortlisted for the David Campbell Award for poetry in 2006 and won it in 2007
Lesley Lebkowicz was a child in Canberra when the Petrovs defected – she breathed in the drama taking place just a few streets from her home.
About The Artist