At first, I had a little trouble getting into Motherfield: Poems & Belarusian Protest Diary. I was reading via my phone from Edelweiss (my go to for online reading as it is the only one I can really get to work on my dinosaur of a phone) and that meant my screen was as small as the Helvetica font at level 9! (That is tiny by the way.) And then I was able to sneak at lunch time a few minutes on my work computer. It was then the diary format worked more smoothly.
I was on the entry August 15 when I realized that I was not getting as much information as I thought you would, but that was okay. This introduction would work as Julia Cimafiejeva did not need to give us “all of it,” just their part of it. And their part shows the protests, talking about the tortures, the deaths, and the regime of Belarus. It is to talk about how they are sore after a day of protesting that did not have the police. The names of people you know are splattered on the pages, as well as the heroes of the times. And there is much more.
The book is based in facts but reads as a novel. Mostly smooth and straight forward. You do find poetic language as Cimafiejeva is a poet themselves. The pictureless words paint a picture of the horrors of just a few years ago as they unfold slowly, but surely.
The diary entries are followed by poetry (first in the poet’s native language then translated into English). Overall, this book is for those who like history, literary stories, poetry and contemporary issues.
Translated by Hanif Abdurraqib and Valzhyna Mort
While this book is out, I read it via Edelweiss