I will admit that when London Grip assigned me Boris Dralyuk’s first collection, My Hollywood and Other Poems, for review, the assignment seemed daunting. Boris Dralyuk is a scholar of great renown, a highly sought-after translator of Russian literature, a former UCLA professor of Slavic Languages and the former editor of the L.A. Review of Books. He is thus a writer and scholar of great stature and My Hollywood is his first outing as an author of a book of poetry. More than that, being the editor of a prestigious book reviewing journal himself, Drayluk plainly knows as much about book reviewing as almost anyone. Imagine being an artist commissioned to paint a portrait of, say, Lucian Freud or Ken Danby, and you’ll have my point.
The feelings of trepidation quickly subsided when the reading began. My Hollywood is a strong and beautiful paean to the many emigrés and exiles from numerous diasporas who make up Hollywood’s heart and soul. These emigrés and exiles, like so much in that city, are somewhat obscured (to quote the review) by the “cloud cover of show-business meringue that mostly keeps them hidden from view”. Dralyuk’s poems draw them out of obscurity and celebrate and ennoble them in the most lyrical way. My Hollywood is a lovely and important book. To read my full review of Boris Dralyuk’s first collection, click here