A long time ago, in Ancient Greece, the study of meteorology was not just simply a practical matter. Many ancient poets (i.e. Hesiod, Aratus, Lucretius) wrote texts that included detailed material about the weather, and their lyrical treatises were considered authoritative sources of meteorological information. Poets were the readers of the signs of physical nature, and they conveyed this “official” information through verses that were as predictive as they were somatic. Since then, poetry has not ceased to be a weather channel.

“One must have a mind of winter,” said Wallace Stevens, “To regard the frost and the boughs / Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; / And have been cold a long time/ To behold the junipers shagged with ice”. If one scrapes a bit below surface of this poem, entitled “The Snow Man”, one cannot help but feel cold. Freezing cold. And this is because when (good) poetry speaks about the weather it becomes physical poetry, capable of soaking our epidermis with foreign temperatures. This thermostatic infectiousness that some poems can invest upon the reader is a good way of approaching the life of Russian meteorologist Vyacheslav Korotki, and perhaps even feel a pinch of his perfect winter. Because his life, although not in verse, could easily infect us with the conductive vigor of a great fragmented poem about the solitude of cold and the slow and constant dripping of ice.

Korotki is a lonely man; a trained polyarnik (North Pole specialist) and a meteorologist. In the past thirty years he has lived on Russian ships and, more recently, in Khodovarikha, a remote outpost in the Arctic where he devotes himself to measuring temperatures, snow storms and the wind. The nearest town, Arkhangelsh, is an hour away by helicopter.

In his rare visits to Arkhangelsh, the sixty-three year old suffers the traffic and noise. Sometimes he watches the news from his outpost, but he doesn’t find them believable. “The world of cities is foreign to him—he doesn’t accept it,” says photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva. “I came with the idea of a lonely hermit who ran away from the world because of some heavy drama, but it wasn’t true. He doesn’t get lonely at all. He kind of disappears into tundra, into the snowstorms. He doesn’t have a sense of self the way most people do. It’s as if he were the wind, or the weather itself.”

The polyarniki were the cosmonauts or explorers of the Soviet State. But they’re decreasing in number. Every day there are less people that have that “mind of winter” that Stevens spoke about, who will feel foreign to the city and who will in turn come to terms with the weather ––Who will fade into the tundra like the weather itself. Korotki is not just a remote meteorologist for the Moscow station; he is meteorology in as much as a poem is meteorology and can make us feel the cold.

A long time ago, in Ancient Greece, the study of meteorology was not just simply a practical matter. Many ancient poets (i.e. Hesiod, Aratus, Lucretius) wrote texts that included detailed material about the weather, and their lyrical treatises were considered authoritative sources of meteorological information. Poets were the readers of the signs of physical nature, and they conveyed this “official” information through verses that were as predictive as they were somatic. Since then, poetry has not ceased to be a weather channel.

“One must have a mind of winter,” said Wallace Stevens, “To regard the frost and the boughs / Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; / And have been cold a long time/ To behold the junipers shagged with ice”. If one scrapes a bit below surface of this poem, entitled “The Snow Man”, one cannot help but feel cold. Freezing cold. And this is because when (good) poetry speaks about the weather it becomes physical poetry, capable of soaking our epidermis with foreign temperatures. This thermostatic infectiousness that some poems can invest upon the reader is a good way of approaching the life of Russian meteorologist Vyacheslav Korotki, and perhaps even feel a pinch of his perfect winter. Because his life, although not in verse, could easily infect us with the conductive vigor of a great fragmented poem about the solitude of cold and the slow and constant dripping of ice.

Korotki is a lonely man; a trained polyarnik (North Pole specialist) and a meteorologist. In the past thirty years he has lived on Russian ships and, more recently, in Khodovarikha, a remote outpost in the Arctic where he devotes himself to measuring temperatures, snow storms and the wind. The nearest town, Arkhangelsh, is an hour away by helicopter.

In his rare visits to Arkhangelsh, the sixty-three year old suffers the traffic and noise. Sometimes he watches the news from his outpost, but he doesn’t find them believable. “The world of cities is foreign to him—he doesn’t accept it,” says photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva. “I came with the idea of a lonely hermit who ran away from the world because of some heavy drama, but it wasn’t true. He doesn’t get lonely at all. He kind of disappears into tundra, into the snowstorms. He doesn’t have a sense of self the way most people do. It’s as if he were the wind, or the weather itself.”

The polyarniki were the cosmonauts or explorers of the Soviet State. But they’re decreasing in number. Every day there are less people that have that “mind of winter” that Stevens spoke about, who will feel foreign to the city and who will in turn come to terms with the weather ––Who will fade into the tundra like the weather itself. Korotki is not just a remote meteorologist for the Moscow station; he is meteorology in as much as a poem is meteorology and can make us feel the cold.

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