Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Poets
ISBN:
Pages: 144
Publication Date: March 14, 2017

The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi

by Eugene Ostashevsky

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The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi is a poem-novel about the relationship between a pirate and a parrot who, after capturing a certain quantity of prizes, are shipwrecked on a deserted island, where they proceed to discuss whether they would have been able to communicate with people indigenous to the island, had there been any. Characterized by multilingual punning, humor puerile and set-theoretical, philosophical irony and narrative handicaps, Eugene Ostashevsky’s new large-scale project draws on sources as various as early modern texts about pirates and animal intelligence, old-school hip-hop, and game theory to pursue the themes of emigration, incomprehension, untranslatability, and the otherness of others.

Upcoming events for The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi with Eugene Ostashevsky:

Mon, April 3, 4:30pm at Princeton University, 249 East Pyne, Princeton, NJ, hosted by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Tues, April 4, 7:30pm at Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY, with Elif Batuman

Wednesday, April 5, 8pm at The Poetry Project, 131 E 10th St., New York City, with Uljana Wolf

Thursday, April 6, 7pm at Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York City, hosted by the Department of Classical and Oriental Studies

Sunday, April 9, 3pm, the jubilat/Jones Reading Series at Jones Library, 43 Amity St., Amherst, MA

Wednesday, April 12, 7pm, at Grolier Poetry Book Shop, 6 Plympton St., Cambridge, MA

Thursday, April 13, 12pm, at the Barker Center, Harvard University, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Praise

This isn’t just a book: It is a multi-vocal orchestra. It performs some of the most playful, surprising, and innovative musical effects of our day. Yet at the center of all this play there is the large emptiness of loss. Loss, the mother of metaphysics.
—Ilya Kaminsky

The Russian-American author of this deliciously sardonic parable of the non sequitur can find no assurance that things in this world happen for a reason. On the contrary, his is a poetic universe where, to cite Wittgenstein, "everything we see could always be otherwise."
—Marjorie Perloff on The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza

The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi deals with the fundamental inability of language as means of expression, utilising a lively and irreverent sense of humour in making the most complex of subjects accessible and familiar with a clarity and irony which warms and disconcerts simultaneously. There is a lyric and musical quality to his poetry informed by the traditions of jazz, early New York Music Hall comedy and the pirating life.
—Eve Richens, The Quietus