Literary roundup: Maria Stepanova, Baltic lit in translation and Colum McCann/John Berger

Short notice on this one but at 6pm CET (12 noon EST) the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation series Writers and Influences continues with Irish writer Colum McCann discussing John Berger. The event is free online, you just need to register.

The ongoing series continues next week on June 21 with Jeffrey Eugenides on Alice Munro, Henry James, James Joyce, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Leo Tolstoy, among others and then a couple days later with Benjamin Moser on Clarice Lispector, with more in the following days ahead.

To register tonight/today and see the full lineup go here

Translating the Baltics

Panel Magazine’s upcoming issue doesn’t only include my latest short story (though, yes it does include that too). It also has a selection of Latgalian poetry, which up until today I had never heard of. The reason I heard about it is that on Panel’s blog they’ve published an interview with Jayde Will, translator of poems by Ligija Purinasa as well as Latvian poetry by Krista Anna Belsevica in the upcoming issue as well as the critically acclaimed novel Insomnia by Albert Bels among other work.

It’s a wide-ranging interview about an area of European lit that people generally don’t know a lot about and as a bonus you will learn what Latgalian is without just Googling it.

Maria Stepanova and Russian Nationalism

Russian poet and writer Maria Stepanova has had three books published in English translation recently in fairly quick succession: In Memory of Memory, War of the Beasts and the Animals, and The Voice Over: Poems and Essays. There are bound to be some heavyweight summing up articles and Sophie Pinkham has written one in Harper’s that is very good, taking in the prose, poetry and many of the political and cultural intersections.

One thing I have to take issue with is the idea that Russian nostalgia for their civil war has “a startling resemblance to recent trends in the United States and Western Europe, where Trump supporters fly Confederate flags and Brexiteers recite Kipling…” Right-wingers have been flying Confederate flags since long before Trump and unlike some of the Russian nationalists who laud White Guards and Stalin it would be hard to find someone who praises General Sherman’s scorched-earth policy while waving a rebel flag. Which is just to say the Russian historical view can get more confused and surreal, the American seems more futile and repetitive. Either way, we’re all doomed.

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Categories: Literary Events, Magazines


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