By Vladimir Azarov
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In August of 1962 I took my first vacation. Lying on a Sochi beach, I opened a newspaper and there I saw the big story: MARILYN MONROE DEAD! This was also the time of the Khrushchev Thaw in Soviet life, and I had chanced to see Billy Wilder's great film, Some Like It Hot, featuring that unbelievable beauty, that force of nature, Marilyn Monroe. There on the beach she did not die for me; she settled into my heart. Sochi became, in my memory, not a town but a bell tolling my bond with her. Sochi then… Sochi now… Without warning, while watching the Olympics on television, I came down with a severe flu and a weeklong fever that peaked often at 103. She came to me again. My Sochi Beatrice, guiding me through decades of memories in my feverish delirium, accompanying me through a waltzing kaleidoscope of times with Henry Moore at his home in Much Haddam, discussing verisimilitudes with Pasolini, art with Frank O'Hara, film and acting with Leni Riefenstahl, shock at terrorists killing Israelis in Munich. I wrote poem upon poem, until this book became what it is – my Sochi delirium.
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