Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Looking back on the year I feel like I've barely achieved anything: most of the authors I wanted to translate are still on the to do list, I have no idea which PhD programs fit my interests and needs, and I haven't applied to any translation grants. However, the publication side of things is not entirely hopeless. My own book came out in Moscow, I've had something like 15 translations accepted for various magazines, and my attendance at ALTA made me feel that my efforts may be obscure, but are not entirely isolated. For those of you who read Russian I encourage you to check out some of my poems on LitKarta or TextOnly. For those of you who have $5 to spare go buy My Imagined Funeral (my book) online. (Although, the site that carries it is in Russian. HA! Good luck.) Merry Merry.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Davydov Reading

I just did a little editing on the Davydov interview I posted so long ago. Reading through it reminded me that Davydov, like many Russian poets, is a protean character --impossible to contain in any specific category. He is both a traditional formalist and ceaseless experimenter. For those of you who are interested here is a video of him reading. He is a bit melodramatic in this one.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Russian Parliamentary Elections

Yevdokia Ivanova prepares to vote while her son Pyotr cuts wood in the village of Markovo,

Kasparov, who was jailed for five days after a protest last weekend, spoiled his ballot by writing on it "Other Russia," the name of his opposition umbrella group.

Let us consider the names of Russia's different political parties:

Liberal Democrats (basically fascists)
Communists (the same ones we know and love)
United Russia (the scary party that has made Russian network television unwatchable)
Other Russia (headed by Russian chess champion Gary Karparov)
Apple (no affiliation with Steve Jobs)
Just Russia (what else is there to say)

There are many others, but I think this bunch will do.
Looking at just the names of these parties one wonders how anyone voted in the first place. The parties are either the opposite of their name (e.g. the Liberal Democrats), or seem to have a complete lack of creativity. I would think a party, positing itself as anti-establishment could come up with a name better than "Other Russia". Of course three of the names above do just this. Of these I think Apple is the closest to achieving the real potential of a great party name, but the Russians could do better. I was thinking these parties could go back to the old Russian tradition of employing poets as propagandizers; I am sure there are poets out there who could put together some great agitprop.

Politics in contemporary Russia is a dreary business, so in the spirit of thinking happy thoughts in the midst of a terrible situation I suggest you think of a country that isn't completely politically fucked today.

Here is a question:
Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?