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J.  Kates is a minor poet, a literary translator and the president and co-director of Zephyr Press. He has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation and a Käpylä Translation Prize. He has published three chapbooks of his own poems: Mappemonde (Oyster River Press) Metes and Bounds (Accents Publishing) and The Old Testament (Cold Hub Press) and two full books, The Briar Patch (Hobblebush Books) and Places of Permanent Shade (Accent). He is the translator of The Score of the Game  and An Offshoot of Sense (Tatiana Shcherbina); Say Thank You and Level with Us (Mikhail Aizenberg); When a Poet Sees a Chestnut Tree, Secret Wars, and I Have Invented Nothing (Jean-Pierre Rosnay); Corinthian Copper (Regina Derieva); Live by Fire (Aleksey Porvin); Thirty-nine Rooms (Nikolai Baitov); Psalms (Genrikh Sapgir); Muddy River (Sergey Stratanovsky); Selected Poems 1957-2009, and Sixty Years (Mikhail Yeryomin); and Paper-thin Skin (Aigerim Tazhi). He is the translation editor of Contemporary Russian Poetry, and the editor of In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era.  A former president of the American Literary Translators Association, he is also the co-translator of six books of Latin American and Spanish poetry. 

Thank you to Julia Ferrari and to Spencer Thurlow for organizing this website.


If you are thinking of ordering books, please consider first going through your local independent bookstore. That way, your single purchase supports the bookstore, the publisher, and the writer. Second best is to order directly from here.

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Rule Number One: Everything's attached.

In the briar patch whichever way

you turn, somebody gets scratched.

Rule Number Two: Your eyes bleed

when they are plucked out and weep

when they are stuck in. Proceed

accordingly. Your oldest friend

needs that woman, that job no more

than you do. Friendships mend

if they are meant to. Have some fun.

Make some money. Get what you can.

Above all, look out for Number One.

J. Kates, The Briar Patch

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