Literary roundup: Yevtushenko in Upstate New York and new writing galore

Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko is appearing at the University of Buffalo through November 3 for a series of events devoted to his work. He will read his poetry on November 1, hold discussions of his poetry and film, screen his film Stalin’s Funeral starring Vanessa Redgrave and be present at a Buffalo Philharmonic performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony #13, “Babi Yar” based on Yevtushenko’s famous commemorative poem of the Holocaust mass killing.

Physics of Sorrow

Open Letter Books announced that it will publish Bulgarian novelist Georgi Gospodinov’s Physics of Sorrow. An excerpt from the novel appeared in Absinthe: New European Writing #17. Gospodinov described the novel in an interview as being about “a boy who has the ability to empathize, to get into others’ sadness and stories.”

Péter Nádas at 70

At the Slovak Cultural Forum’s Salon an article cites Hungarian daily Népszabadság’s tribute Péter Nádas as he turns seventy (scroll down).He knows so much about us and about himself because, on the one hand, he is a systematic reader and because he knows the world around him on the other: he knows Hungarian peasants, Roma traffickers, as well as the burghers of Pest,” writes Csaba Károlyi.

– Yevgeny Yevtushenko (right) with President Richard Nixon.

Cerise Press

The Fall issue of the Cerise Press is out and contains a great selection of fiction and poetry in translation along with essays, reviews, interviews, photography and art. Just drawing from their Central and Eastern European contents there is poetry by Gleb Shulpyakov, Rilke,  Jadwiga Grabarz, fiction by Bosnian-raised writer Jozefina Cutura, an interview with translator Christopher Mattison and a review of the new Ryszard Kapuściński biography. And then there’s everything else the issue has.

New Polish books

At Slovakia’s Salon there are also a pair of Polish book profiles providing a preview of Nike Award winner Marek Bieńczyk’s Książka twarzy (The Book of Faces) and Dorota Masłowska’s highly anticipated new novel Kochanie, zabiłam nasze koty (Darling, I’ve Killed Our Cats).

The short articles present summaries of various reviews of the books and profiles of the authors, including a description of Bieńczyk’s book as “a fascinating biography of a reader of literature and a gourmet of life, in which Flaubert happily coexists with Chandler, Coetzee with Baudelaire, May’s Winnetou – the first book of his childhood – with Ulysses …”

There is also a deflating review of Masłowska’s takedown of modern consumer society, which points out that showing readers how artificial and shallow the contemporary world is might not be the most earth-shattering revelation.

Photo – The poster for Stalin’s Funeral by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (and though it does star Vanessa Redgrave and she is a marvelous actress with chameleonlike abilities, that’s not her. She plays an English journalist).

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