from “The End(s) of Russian Poetry: An Interview with Dmitry Prigov” by Philip Metres

Are your “images” like masks? An image is more than that. An image is a kind of existence. I must, first, understand it, then enter into it and live. A mask, generally speaking, implies that another person exists behind it. But I, as a person, cannot exist. Behind a mask, one can act like a director, but a director can never substitute for an actor. A traditional poet like Brodsky or Gandlevsky goes out on stage and writes poetry, and his aim is completely connected to his texts. I have a different aim. I can go out on stage as an actor and I myself am not there. So I am by way of virtual expression. I am insofar as they act. I am personally like a director, not on the stage but existing in every point of action. So that’s why I say that all poetic conduct involves personages. I’m not in my texts but at the same time, just as the director is not on the stage, I am the play. I am the structure.

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