Participant Bios

Featured Russian Language Poets

Polina Barskova is an associate professor of Russian Literature at Hampshire College. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of twelve collections of poetry in Russian, including her latest volume of selected poems Solnechnoe utro na ploshchadi (A Sunny Morning on the Square, 2018), and author of a collection of short stories entitled Zhiviye kartiny (Living Pictures, 2014), for which she was awarded the Andrei Belyi Prize (2015). Three collections of her poetry have appeared in English translation: This Lamentable City (2010), Zoo in Winter (2011) and Relocations (2013). She edited the anthology Written In The Dark, named Best Literary Translation into English for 2017 by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages, and of two scholarly works in Russian: a reader on the Siege of Leningrad Blokada: svidetel’stva o leningradskoi blokade (2017) and a collection of conference papers Blokadnye narrativy (2017). Her first English monograph, Besieged Leningrad: Aesthetic Responses to Urban Disaster, was published in 2017.

Keti Chukhrov is a ScD in philosophy, and an associate professor at the Department of Сultural Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. In 2012-2017 she was head of the Theory and Research department at the National Center of Contemporary Art, Moscow, where she founded the research platform Theoretic Inquiry in Cultural Anthropology (TICA). Her full-length books include: To Be—To Perform: ‘Theatre’ in Philosophical Art Criticism (European University, 2011), and Pound &£ (Logos, 1999) and two volumes of dramatic writing: Merely Humans (2010) and War of Quantities (2003). Currently she is a Marie Sklodowska Curie fellow in the UK at Wolverhampton University. Her research interests and publications deal with 1.The impact of socialist political economy on the epistemes of historical socialism 2. Philosophy of performativity, 3. Art-systems and 3. Neo-humanism in the conditions of post-human theories. Her forthcoming book deals with the communist epistemologies in the Soviet Marxist philosophy and culture of  the1960-s and 1970-s. With her screenplay “Love-machines” she participated at the Bergen Assembly (2013) and “Specters of Communism” (James Gallery, CUNY, NY, 2015). Her latest screenplay “Communion” was in the program of the Kansk video film festival (Moscow, 2016) and at the Ljubljana Triennial U-3 “Beyond the Globe (2016, cur. B. Groys). Her play “Love-machines” is since 2016 in the repertoire of the Stanislavsky electrotheatre (Moscow).

Dmitry Kuzmin is a poet, translator, editor and organizer of literary projects. He was born in Moscow in 1968. He has taught at various Russian educational institutions, and in 2014 was visiting professor of Russian poetry at Princeton University. Kuzmin co-authored the first Russian textbook of poetry. He is the founder of the publishing house Argo-Risk (1993), the site Vavilon (1997), and the journal Vozdukh. He has been editor of a number of anthologies, including one of contemporary Russian LGBT poetry. He headed the first almanac of Russian haiku, Triton, and the first journal of LGBT literature in Russia, RISK, and also created the online directory New Map of Literary Russia and the gallery Faces of Russian Literature. He was honored for his organizational work in 2002 with the Andrei Bely Prize. His 2008 collection of poetry and translations was recognized with the Moskovskii schet prize for best debut book of the year. His own poetry has been translated into fourteen languages. Kuzmin has translated into Russian Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Southern Mail, the works of the American poets e.e. cummings, Auden, Charles Reznikoff, C. K. Williams, as well as the works of Ukrainian, French, Belarusian, German, and Polish poets. Due to his opposition to the Russian political regime he has lived since 2014 in Latvia, where he has founded the Literature Without Borders project—an international poetry foundation and residency for translators of poetry. Since 2017, the project has been funding the Poetry Without Borders festival in Riga.

Elena Mikhailik was born in Odesa in 1970. She graduated from Odesa State University, where she studied literature. In 1993 she emigrated to Australia and since that time resides in Sydney. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of New South Wales with a dissertation on “Varlam Shalamov: The Poetics of the ‘New Prose.’” She teaches translation at the University of New South Wales as well as at Macquarie University. She is the author of one collection of poetry, Ni snom ni oblakom (Not by dream or cloud, 2008), and her poems have been published in Vozdukh, Volga, Deti Ra, Arion, and other journals. Her scholarly monograph, Nezakonnaia kometa. Varlam Shalamov: opyt medlennogo chteniia (Illegal Comet: Varlam Shalamov, an Exercise in Close Reading), on the poetics and rhetoric of the Kolyma Stories, was recently published in Moscow.

Galina Rymbu is a poetess, literary critic, curatrix, and philosopher from Lviv, Ukraine. Born in 1990 in Omsk, Siberia, Rymbu graduated from the Gorky Institute of Literature in Moscow and received a Masters in socio-political philosophy from the European University at Saint Petersburg. She is the co-foundress and curatrix of the Arkady Dragomoshchenko Poetry Prize for young Russian-language poets. She teaches at the St. Petersburg School of New Film and has organized seminars dedicated to feminist literature and the theory of “F-writing.” She is on the editorial board of the poetry series Novye stikhi (Poriadok Slov Publishing House). Her poetry has been translated into English, German, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Polish, and Latvian, and has been published in the journals Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, Vozdukh, Translit, Snob, n+1, Arc Poetry, The White Review, Berlin Quarterly, Music&Literature, Asymptote, and Powder Keg among others. She has published five books of poetry, including one in English translation. She was the 2017 poet laureate of the Poetry Without Borders festival in Riga, and participates in festivals, conferences, and seminars all over Europe.

Leonid Schwab was born in Bobruysk, Belarus in 1961. He graduated from Moscow State Technological University and has lived and worked in Orenburg and Vladimir. Since 1990 he has lived in Jerusalem. His work has been published in the journals Zerkalo, Solnechnoe spletenie, Dvoetochie, and in the anthology Vse srazu. He is the author of the poetry collections Poverit’ v botaniku (Believing in Botany, 2005) and Vash Nikolai (Your Nikolai, 2015). Schwab has been recognized with the Andrei Bely Prize (short-listed in 2004, laureate in 2016).

Other Participants—Poets, Translators, and Scholars

Charles Bernstein is the author of Near/Miss (University of Chicago, 2018), Pitch of Poetry (Chicago, 2016), and Recalculating (Chicago, 2013). He is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-director of PennSound. Many of his poems have been translated into Russian by Ian Probstein.

Julia Bloch grew up in Northern California and Sydney, Australia. She is the author of three books of poetry: Letters to Kelly Clarkson, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award; Valley Fever; and The Sacramento of Desire, forthcoming in fall 2019. She is Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania and coedits the online journal of poetry and poetics Jacket2.

Marijeta Bozovic is an Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, affiliated with Film and Media Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. A specialist in 20th- and 21st-century Russian and East European cultures with broad comparative interests, she is the author of Nabokov’s Canon: From Onegin to Ada (Northwestern University Press, 2016), and the co-editor (with Matthew Miller) of Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River (Academic Studies Press, 2016) and (with Brian Boyd) of Nabokov Upside Down (Northwestern University Press, 2017). She is currently working on her second monograph, Avant-Garde Post– : Radical Poetics After the Soviet Union. Bozovic is the co-editor of the academic journal Russian Literature; the co-curator of the “Poetry after Language” colloquy for Stanford University’s ARCADE digital salon; and a contemporary film and literature reviewer for The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Catherine Ciepiela is a scholar and translator of Russian poetry who teaches at Amherst College. She is the author of The Same Solitude (Cornell 2006), a study of Marina Tsvetaeva’s epistolary romance with Boris Pasternak; co-editor, with Honor Moore, of The Stray Dog Cabaret (NYRB 2007), an anthology of poems by the Russian modernists in Paul Schmidt’s translations; and editor of the anthology Relocations (Zephyr 2013), featuring translations of Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova and Maria Stepanova.  She recently finished translating a book of Polina Barskova’s poetic prose and is at work on a book about Tsvetaeva’s émigré career.

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee at age six. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on poetry about the Holocaust. Julia’s poetry collection, The Many Names for Mother, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Kent State University Press in the fall of 2019. She is also the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) and her recent poems appear in Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, and TriQuarterly, among others. Julia is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine and when not busy chasing her son around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she writes Other women don’t tell you, a blog about motherhood.

Yehudith Dashevsky is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, studying English literature with a concentration in Poetry and Poetics. She is interested in the psychological underpinnings of folklore and myth. Her current projects include a thesis about ten translations of Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem, an article documenting educational triumphs in a woodworking shop in Philadelphia, and a chapter of a children’s book. She is the senior editor of Penn’s student translation magazine, DoubleSpeak


Sibelan E. S. Forrester is Susan W. Lippincott Professor of Modern and Classical Languages and Russian at Swarthmore College. Most recently, she is the editor of A Companion to Marina Tsvetaeva (Brill, 2016) and co-editor with Martha Kelly of Russian Silver-Age Poetry: Texts and Contexts (Academic Studies Press, 2015). She has published translations of fiction, poetry, and scholarly prose from Croatian, Russian and Serbian, including Elena Ignatova’s Diving Bell (Zephyr, 2006), Vladimir Propp’s Russian Folktale (Wayne State UP, 2012). Her book of poetry, Second-Hand Fate, came out in 2016 from Parnilis Media (Media, PA).

Maria Khotimsky is a Senior Lecturer in Russian and Russian Language Coordinator in the Department of Global Studies and Languages at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her recent work includes articles and conference talks on the ideology of translation in the Soviet Union, and poetics of translation in the works of several leading twentieth-century Russian poets, as well as in the work of Russian-American translingual poets. She is a co-editor of a volume of scholarly essays on the poetry and philosophy of Olga Sedakova, published in Russia (Ol’ga Sedakova: stikhi, smysly, prochteniia, NLO, 2017), and in the US (The Poetry and Poetics of Olga Sedakova. Origins, Philosophies, Points of Contention) University of Wisconsin Press, 2019).

James McGavran, Assistant Professor of Russian at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, has also taught at Penn and Rutgers University. He completed a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton in 2008, defending a dissertation on Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poetics of humor. His book of annotated translations of Mayakovsky, Selected Poems, was published in 2013, and he has also translated poems and prose by Elena Shvarts and Aleksandr Skidan.


D. Brian Kim is Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In his current book project, he examines how an active and critical engagement with foreign languages and cultures served the last prerevolutionary generation of Russian writers as a basis for the development of new forms of self-expression in dialogue with concerns of aesthetics, sexual and racial identity, and geopolitical relations. He also works on lexicography, literacy, and language education in the Russian Empire.

Yasha Klots is an assistant professor of Russian at Hunter College, CUNY. He received his Ph.D. from Yale, where he worked with Tomas Venclova as his dissertation advisor. Before joining Hunter in 2016, he taught at GA Tech, Williams College and Yale. In 2014-2016, he was a Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Research Center for East European Studies at the University of Bremen, Germany. His research interests include émigré literature and book history, bilingualism and translation, Gulag narratives, and cityscapes. He is the author of articles on Varlam Shalamov, Boris Pasternak, Joseph Brodsky, Lev Loseff, Vladimir Nabokov, Marina Tsvetaeva, Ivan Bunin, Nina Berberova, as well as Russian children’s poetry and New York City in Russian literature. In 2010, he published Joseph Brodsky in Lithuania (St. Petersburg: Perlov Design Center; in Russian), and co-translated, with Ross Ufberg, Tamara Petkevich’s Memoir of a Gulag Actress (DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP). His most recent book is Poets in New York: On City, Language, Diaspora (Moscow: NLO, 2016; in Russian), which includes his introduction and annotated interviews with 16 Russian and East European poets. He is currently working on a book Tamizdat, the Cold War and Contraband Russian Literature (1960-1970s) devoted to the circulation, reception and first publications of literary manuscripts from the Soviet Union abroad.

Alex Moshkin is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on multilingual Russian-Jewish literature, cinema, and visual art in the late 20th and early 21st century in Israel. His book project, Forty Years in the Wilderness: Russian-Israeli Literature, Film, and Painting, investigates how Russian-speaking émigrés to Israel created a cultural identity for themselves in synch with the Israeli society. He is currently working on an English-language anthology of contemporary Russian-Israeli poetry in Hebrew and Russian.

Luiza Moshkin is a doctoral candidate at the Program of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation project examines the gendered poetics of Marina Tsvetaeva and of modernist poetry more generally. In addition to research, she teaches Russian literature at all levels and is an avid translator from English to Russian. Her research interests include: Twentieth-century Russian Literature, Modernist Poetry, Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle, and Gender Performance.

Mila Nazyrova is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. She defended a dissertation titled “The Theme of the Pastoral and Russian Silver Age” at the University of Southern California in 2010. Her current research is revolving around the artistic legacy of Konstantin Somov and its Silver Age context.




Katherine Tiernan O’Connor is Professor Emerita of Russian and Comparative Literature at Boston University. Her publications include Boris Pasternak’s ‘My Sister-Life’: The Illusion of Narrative (1989); “Rereading Lolita, Reconsidering Nabokov’s Relationship with Dostoevsky” (1989); numerous articles on Chekhov, including “Writing in English with a Chekhov Muse” (2007) and two articles in Chekhov’s Letters: Biography, Context, Poetics (2018). Her new translations of two Chekhov stories appear in Anton Chekhov’s Selected Stories (2014). She co-translated with Diana Lewis Burgin Sergei Dovlatov’s The Invisible Book (1979) and “Somebody’s Death” (1981) in addition to Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (Vintage International, 1996), which is still in print.

Anastasiya Osipova is a scholar, writer, and translator. She is an editor of Cicada Press, a NYC-based imprint that pursues contemporary politically engaged poetic texts. (Cicada’s most recent publication is a bilingual edition of Pavel Arseniev’s poetry entitled Reported Speech). She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Comparative Literature at NYU and is currently teaching at Gallatin, the School of Individualized Study.


Eugene Ostashevsky works on writing that wrongs the borders of language, culture, and nation. His latest book of poetry, The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi, published by NYRB Poets, discusses migration, translation, and second-language writing as wrought by pirates and parrots. For the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, The Pirate “transforms the absurdity of Russian Futurism into a postmodern poetics of immigration, as it mixes puns, jokes, specialist jargon, early modern exploration and colonial narratives, Socratic dialogue, Wittgensteinian language games, and the allegorical fable.” A German reviewer writes that “when the pirate and the parrot are stranded on a deserted island, they deconstruct the strategies of linguistic exclusion hiding in the terms native, refugee, and mother tongue. This book is contemporary, border-crossing, and deeply humane.” For an American reader, “Ostashevsky’s original American poetry seems ready-made to discuss the multiple mutating filters of translation.” Ostashevsky is also the author of The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza, a book of poetry about the irrationality of rationality, and a translator specializing in zaum’, or the meaningless language of the Russian avant-garde.

Kevin M. F. Platt is a professor of cultural history in the Russian and Eastern European Studies and Comparative Literature and Literary Theory departments at the University of Pennsylvania. He authored the books History in a Grotesque Key. Russian Literature and the Idea of Revolution (Stanford University Press, 1997; in Russian, «История в гротескном ключе: Русская литература и идея революции». М.: Академический проект, 2007) and Terror and Greatness: Ivan and Peter as Russian Myths (Cornell University Press, 2011). He edited the recently published book Global Russian Cultures (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019). Currently, he is finishing a book titled Near abroad: Russians in Latvia and is researching Russian historiography of the 18th to 21st centuries. He is the founder of the symposium Your Language My Ear.

Sally (Sarah) Pratt’s research focuses primarily on Russian poetry.  She has published three books, Nikolai Zabolotsky:  Enigma and Cultural Paradigm, Russian Metaphysical Romanticism: The Poetry of Tiutchev and Boratysnkii, and The Semantics of Chaos in Tiutčev, as well as numerous articles on Russian poetry, Russian women’s autobiography, and twentieth-century Russian literary criticism.  Her most recent articles are “Disruption of Disruption: The Orthodox Christian Impulse in the Works of Nikolai Zabolotsky and Olga Sedakova,”Pushkin Framing Mary:  Blasphemy, Beauty and National Identity,” and “In-Betweenness as a Device: Notes on Lidiia Ginzburg with Digressions on Barthes and Foucault.” Her current book project investigates the way religious icons shape meaning in the work of presumably atheist Russian avant-garde poets, and has the working title Russian Revolutionary Poets and Imagined Icons: Cultural Continuity in Time of Rupture. She has served as Vice Provost for Graduate Programs at the University of Southern California since 2010, and Faculty Development Director (Humanities) in USC Dornsife College since 2008.  

Adrienne Raphel is the author of What Was It For (Rescue Press, 2017), winner of the Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize; and the chapbook But What Will We Do (Seattle Review, 2016), winner of the Seattle Review Chapbook Contest. Her work has also appeared in such publications as the New Yorker online, POETRY, the New Republic, the Paris Review Daily, and Lana Turner Journal. Born in New Jersey and raised in Vermont, Raphel holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from Harvard. She teaches in the Princeton Writing Program and is currently working on a book about crossword puzzles.

Stephanie Sandler is Ernest E. Monrad Professor and Chair of the Slavic Department at Harvard. She has written about the Pushkin era and about modern myths of Pushkin, including Commemorating Pushkin: Russia’s Myth of a National Poet (Stanford University Press, 2004). She is a co-author of A History of Russian Literature (Oxford University Press, 2018), and a co-editor of Ol’ga Sedakova: stikhi, smysly, prochteniia (NLO, 2017), an English-language version of which should appear just before Your Language My Ear commences (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019). She has translated several contemporary poets, including Elena Fanailova, Elena Shvarts, Olga Sedakova, Mara Malanova, and Alexandra Petrova. She is someday hoping to complete The Freest Speech in Russia: Poetry After 1989.

Susan Stewart, a poet, critic, and translator, is the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English. Stewart’s most recent books of criticism include The Poet’s Freedom: A Notebook on Making; Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, which won the Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism from Phi Beta Kappa and the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism; The Open Studio: Essays on Art and Aesthetics, a collection of her writings on contemporary art; Crimes of Writing; On Longing; and Nonsense. Her most recent books of poetry are Cinder: New and Selected Poems (2017, Graywolf Press); Red Rover, Columbarium, which won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle award, and The Forest. Her translations include Love Lessons: Selected Poems of Alda Merini, and she has published co-translations with her Princeton colleague Sara Teardo–Laudomia Bonanni’s novel, The Reprisal— and, with Patrizio Ceccagnoli, two books of poetry by Milo De Angelis–Theme of Farewell and After-Poems. She also has translated Euripides’ Andromache with Wesley Smith and the poetry and selected prose of the Scuola Romana painter Scipione with Brunella Antomarini. Stewart often collaborates with artists and composers. Her song cycle, “Songs for Adam,” commissioned by the Chicago Symphony with music by the composer James Primosch, had its world premiere with baritone Brian Mulligan and the CSO, Sir Andrew Davis conducting, in October 2009.

Emily Van Buskirk is Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University. She is the author of Lydia Ginzburg’s Prose: Reality in Search of Literature (Princeton University Press, 2016), which co-won the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures, 2017, and won the AATSEEL prize for Best Book in Literary Studies in the same year. She is coeditor (with Andrei Zorin) of Lydia Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identities (which contains her translations of some of Ginzburg’s essays) and of a Russian edition of Ginzburg’s blockade prose. She also edited a new publication of Ginzburg’s Notes from the Blockade (Random House, 2016). Van Buskirk, who received her BA from Princeton University and her PhD from Harvard, specializes in Russian prose of the Soviet period, and is also interested in Russian and Soviet poetry, and twentieth-century Czech literature and film.

Val Vinokur was born in Moscow and immigrated to Miami Beach as a child. He is the author of The Trace of Judaism: Dostoevsky, Babel, Mandelstam, Levinas (2009) and Relative Genitive: Poems with Translations from Osip Mandelstam and Vladimir Mayakovsky (2018), and has published poetry, translations, and prose in The Boston Review, New American Writing, The Literary Review, McSweeney’s, and The Massachusetts Review. His co-translations from French with Rose Réjouis were recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lewis Galantiere Award. He teaches literature at The New School, where he is chair of Liberal Arts in the BA Program for Adults and directs the minor in Literary Translation. His annotated translation of seventy-two stories by Isaac Babel, The Essential Fictions, was published in 2017. Vinokur is the founding editor of Poets & Traitors Press and a senior editor at Public Seminar.

Boris Wolfson recently co-edited, with Julie Buckler and Julie Cassiday, Russian Performances: Word, Object, Action, published by the University of Wisconsin Press. He has written on nineteenth- and twentieth-century cultural and literary history; theater and selfhood in the Stalin era; and new drama. His translations range from early-twentieth-century poetry to twenty-first-century drama (most recently, Ivan Vyrypaev’s play The Iran Conference). He teaches at Amherst College.

Matvei Yankelevich‘s books include Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square), Alpha Donut (United Artists), and Boris by the Sea (Octopus). His translations include Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook), and (with Eugene Ostashevsky) Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me to Think (NYRB Poets), which received a National Translation Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is a founding editor of Ugly Duckling Presse, and teaches at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

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