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'Poetry is my life'

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My name is Irina Denisova. I am a poet and a native Muscovite. I work in a library

On the people of Moscow

I live in a very green neighbourhood of Moscow—Lianozovo. This used to be a suburban district for dachas, or weekend cottages. Lianozovo has crossed oak branches on its coat of arms; the area was once famous for its oak groves. There are still oaks there. Big majestic ones, probably a hundred years old.

I am a fifth-generation Muscovite. My great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather are both buried at Vagankovskoe Cemetery, not far from Vysotsky's grave. In spirit, mindset, speech and manners, I consider myself to be a thoroughgoing representative of this fantastic, historically and culturally well-endowed city.

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On Plyushchikha and the love of books

When I was a child, my family lived on Plyushchikha, one of Moscow's older streets. I remember the broad windowsills, moulded ceilings, a round table, the immutable orange lampshade, tea glasses in glass holders and reading of books to each other. My interest in books — my passion, really — comes from that place and that time. I work as a librarian and PR specialist at the Mikhail Lermontov Library in Sokolniki. I run a music and poetry club called Velum, which welcomes poets, musicians and other creative people.

Poetry is my life. I write poetry and publish books of poetry. My poems have appeared in Russian and international almanacs of poetry. My online pseudonym is Irina Denisova the Muscovite.

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On work and pleasure

I love my job. I like what I do. I set up communication channels, organise cultural events and draft and edit texts (my first degree was in editing and journalism). I have previously worked in a number of fields: I was a business coach, taught at the Russian State University for the Humanities and the People's Friendship University and worked as a schoolteacher for a while. I think it is important to have a job that intersects with your hobby at least partially. I have that in my life.

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On my favourite places

I am in love with Sretenka, the neighbourhood where I used to go for walks when I went to the Moscow Polygraphic Institute on Sadovaya-Spasskaya, almost right across from the Sklifosovsky Hospital. A friend and I used to spend a lot of time at the so-called Swiss Courtyard on the corner of Sretenka. There is still a real Soviet chebureki place by the park there. People do not go there exclusively for the real chebureki. Together with the savoury odour of the food, they inhale the genuine atmosphere of Moscow. Plus it's cool to be in a real Soviet catering establishment.

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Childhood memories

I love Kuznetsky Bridge and its stone-block pavement. I love to stroll down boulevards, they give me inspiration. Moscow is a very poetic city in general.

And, last but not least, Smolenskaya Square is the site of many a precious childhood memory. My mother and I used to go to Smolensky Gastronom, a delicatessen shop that sold unusual and delicious things like black olives on huge trays. As a child, I tried an olive there once thinking it was a plum. Its bitter-salty taste was a tremendous disappointment. That was a little childhood catastrophe for me.

On the city's character

My kinship and bond with Moscow are inexpressibly strong. My family are all here, and I have no other relatives anywhere else. There are countless cinemas, libraries, theatre performances, exhibitions and poetry readings in Moscow. It is impossible to live in Moscow and ignore what the city has to offer.

Moscow also has unique architecture and the world's best Metro system. The stations are like palaces, each with its own amazing story to tell. Going for walks in Moscow is a pure delight, the city is so clean and taken good care of.

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The special Muscovites project is dedicated to the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow. You can meet them in a café, on the street, at the theatre or the supermarket. Perhaps, you sat across from their table, stood in the same queue or were on the same bus late to work just yesterday. Muscovites, let's get acquainted.

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