Dr. Andrew Kuchins '81 to speak on U.S./Russia Relations

The Amherst College Center for Russian Culture will host a talk by Dr. Andrew Kuchins '81, entitled "U.S.-Russia Relations: From Reset to Rethink."

Dr. Kuchins is a senior fellow and Director of the Russian and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.  He is an internationally known expert on Russian foreign and domestic policies who publishes widely and is frequently called on by business, government, media, and academic leaders for comment and consulting on Russian and Eurasian affairs.

Please join us for this important event, Monday, April 7th, at 4:30 pm in the Cole Assembly Room (the Red Room), first floor, Converse Hall, on the Amherst College Campus.

Folk Trio Zolotoj Plyos - Music Workshop

Join us for a fun and engaging interactive workshop offered by famed folk ensemble Zolotoj Plyos. Winners of a number of prestigious music competitions throughout Europe, members of the Zolotoj Pljos Folk Ensemble - Sergei Gratchev, Elena Sadina, and Aleksandr Solovov - are all graduates of the Saratov Music Conservatory. They currently teach at the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium, and at Middlebury College, Vermont.

The workshop will take place in the Russian House (Porter) lounge on Thursday, April 10 at 8pm.

Don't miss this unique opportunity!
The event is free and open for all students taking classes in the AC Russian Department.
Sponsored by Lucius Root Eastman Fund and the Amherst College Russian Department.

In Translation: An Evening with Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM in the Frost Library Friendly Periodical Room at Amherst College, two renowned, prize-winning translators of Russian classics return to Amherst College for an evening of conversation and discussion of their craft and their most recent projects. 

Widely recognized by scholars and critics of Russian literature as two of the best translators working today, Pevear and Volokhonsky have translated twenty books from Russian, including key works by Fyodor Dostoevsky (all major novels, two collections of short fiction and Notes from a Dead House, forthcoming in fall 2014 from Knopf); Leo Tolstoy (two major novels, a collection of short fiction, and several treatises); Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls, short fiction, and The Inspector, in collaboration with Richard Nelson, forthcoming in spring 2014 from Theater Communications Group); Nikolai Leskov (most comprehensive collection of short fiction available in English); Anton Chekhov (stories, short novels, and a brand-new translation of "The Cherry Orchard" completed just weeks ago); Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita), and Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago).  They are currently working on a collection of prose works by Alexander Pushkin. 

Out of Steppe: Borodin’s Prince Igor and Operatic Russia’s Seductive “Other”

On Friday, February 28 at 4:00 pm, renowned opera critic David Shengold (Amherst Class of ’81) will present an illustrated talk entitled:  Out of Steppe:  Borodin’s Prince Igor and Operatic Russia’s Seductive “Other."  The talk will be held at the Amherst College Center for Russian Culture (Webster, 2nd Floor), and a reception will follow.

(Please note: on Saturday, March 1, the Hadley Cinemark will screen the Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcast of Borodin’s opera, beginning at noon.)

Anna K - Russian Major Shawna Grajek's Senior Project

We are delighted to announce that Shawna Grajek's Senior Project, "Anna K," will be presented on February 20-22 at 8:00 in Kirby Theater.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” --Leo Tolstoy, "Anna Karenina"

"Anna K" is an adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel for the stage, which follows Anna’s unhappy marriage to her husband and traces the erosion of her passion for her lover. Anna’s brother lives in a compromised arrangement with his wife. "Anna K" sets the love and marriage of Levin and Kitty as a contrast-- the happy family.

The play is directed by Peter Lobdell. Seating is open; no reservations are required.

Poetry Reading with Polina Barskova and Anna Glazova

On Thursday, December 5 at 8:00 pm two leading Russian poets, Polina Barskova and Anna Glazova, will read from their work in Russian and in English translation.  Their poetry appears together in the recent three-poet anthology RELOCATIONS, published by Zephyr Press and edited by Catherine Ciepiela.  The reading will take place in Pruyne Auditorium, on the first floor of Fayerweather on the Amherst College campus.  The event is sponsored by Amherst College's Creative Writing Program.


Polina Barskova began publishing her poetry at age nine and is the author of eight books of poems that have garnered national awards in Russia.  Two collections of her poetry in English translations appeared recently: This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press, 2010) and The Zoo in Winter (Melville House Press, 2011).  She is also a published scholar with degrees in classical literature (from St. Petersburg University) and Slavic languages and literatures (UC Berkeley).  Her research concerns Soviet Russian literature of the 30s, and she has forthcoming books on cultural life during the siege of Leningrad.  She currently teaches Russian literature at Hampshire College and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Anna Glazova is a poet, translator and scholar in German Studies and Comparative Literature with a PhD from Northwestern University.  She is the author of three books of poems, and just won this year's Andrey Bely prize for her latest, Dlia zemleroiki.  She has translated into Russian books by Robert Walser,Unica Zürn and Ladislav Klima; her translations of Paul Celan’s poetry recently appeared (Govori i ty, Ayluros, 2012).  A volume of her poems in translations by Anna Khasin, Twice under the Sun, has appeared with Shearsman Books (London, 2008).  Her scholarship has focused on the work of Paul Celan and Osip Mandelstam.  She works and resides in Hamburg, Germany and the United States.


The fall of the Soviet Union released creative energies that have shaped a new Russian poetry.  Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova and Maria Stepanova belong to the generation that has led this epochal transformation.  Born in the 1970s, they are old enough to have visceral memories of Soviet life but young enough to move adeptly with the new influences, new media and new choices introduced in the post-Soviet era.  Together they represent a contemporary Russian culture that reaches beyond national borders:  Barskova has emigrated to the US, Glazova is based in Germany and Stepanova is a lifelong Muscovite.

Their generation is also the last one raised on Russian modernism, which these poets are renovating from within.  While they possess the modernists’ erudition, they decline to worship high culture.  They have no patience for modernist mythologies of the poet.  They have moved beyond the modernists’ death-match with totalitarianism to think critically about politics and culture -- Barskova as an historian of Petersburg, Glazova as a theorist and translator of Central European writing, and Stepanova as the editor of an independent online journal.  They mistrust lyric emotion, confidently leaving behind Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova as poets of female desire while remaining conscious of themselves as writing women.  As this gathering of these poets’ work signals, women are more influential in Russian poetry than ever before.

Russian Voices Symposium and Philosophical Cabaret at Boston University

On Wednesday, November 20, Russian Department Chair Professor Catherine Ciepiela, will participate in a symposium entitled Russian Voices: Readings and Conversations with contemporary Russian will be held at Boston University.  This event celebrates the release by Zephyr Press of Relocations, a new anthology of Russian poetry, and brings together the three poets whose works are collected in the book and two of their English language translators: Catherine Ciepiela and Sibelan Forrester. Featured speakers are poets Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova, and Maria Stepanova.  Also participating are local poet Katia Kapovich; BU faculty members Olga Livshin, Yuri Corrigan, and Katherine O’Connor; and Jim Kates from Zephyr Press.

For more information, visit the Boston University webpage for the event

Russian Voices flyer.pdf920.36 KB

Spring 2013 Russian Film Series

Click here to see this semester's Russian Film Series schedule.

Past Events

Spring 2013

Russian Film Event:  In Memoriam, Alexei German - Friday, April 26th at 7:00 pm
In late February, Russians bid farewell to a man many considered to be the country’s greatest living filmmaker. Largely under-appreciated in the West, Alexei German’s films delighted in their complexity, tones, textured aesthetics, and the absence of simple heroes or villains.  My Friend Ivan Lapshin (1984) is a gritty, beautiful and a strange mixture of realism and dreamish images.  The film will be screened and then discussed by professors from the Five Colleges, led by Polina Barskova of Hampshire College.

Russian Spring Concert - Friday, April 5th
Join us in the Friedmann Room (in the Keefe Campus Center) for music, readings and other performances by Amherst College students of Russian.  Culture, conversation, fun and refreshments!

Russian-English poetry reading by Maria Stepanova - Monday, April 1 at 7:00 pm
Moscow poet Maria Stepanova, a winner of Russia’s top literary prize, will give a reading on Monday, April 1 at 7pm in the Amherst Center for Russian Culture.  She will read her original poetry along with new English translations.  Stepanova is one of the most visible figures in post-Soviet culture, a founder and editor of today’s most influential online journal.  She is one of the most important poets working today, addressing contemporary themes through skillfully distorted forms and language.  The reading will be followed by a question-and-answer session in English.

This event is sponsored by the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, the Russian Department and the Lurcy Lecture Fund.


Fall 2012

Wednesday, October 24 at 4:30 p.m. (Center for Russian Culture, Webster Hall).  A Lecture by Igor Vishnevetsky:  The Birth of Fiction from the Spirit of Music:  My Novel, "Leningrad" -- from literary text to screen version.  Professor Vishnevetsky teaches Russian Literature at the American Studio of the Moscow Art Theater and English at the Russian State University for the Humanities.

Sunday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. (Center for Russian Culture, Webster Hall)Remembering the Rite of Spring:  Stravinsky's views on all of his most famous works changed over the years, but The Rite of Spring was a particular case, partly because he had difficulty getting the notation of the score as he wanted it, partly because he lost interest in the ethnic aspects of the subject, partly because of issues to do with the way the work was, or should be, performed. The talk traces these changes down the years, and draws some conclusions about Stravinsky's creative methods and his attitudes to his own past work.

Stephen Walsh is a critic and musicologist who is currently Reader in Music at Cardiff University, Wales.


Wednesday, March 3, 4:00 p.m., Robert Frost Library. World-renowned Russian literature translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volkhonsky will speak at Amherst. The event, which is part of the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series, is free and open to the public. In addition to the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series fund, Pevear and Volokhnosky's visit is being co-sponsored by Amherst's Departments of Russian and English, The Creative Writing Center and the Program in European Studies.

Wednesday, February 10, 4:30 p.m., Amherst Center for Russian Culture. Elena Fanailova will read from her poetry in the Amherst Center for Russian Culture. A leading voice of her generation, Fanailova is the author of four books of poems and a host of a program for Radio Liberty that covers political and literary events in Russia. She will read her poems in Russian and in English translation.


Friday, April 17, 4:30 p.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall, Amherst College
Stanley Rabinowitz, Henry Steele Commager Professor and Professor of Russian, is the premier translator of Russian ballet critic Akim Volynsky and author of the recently published book "Ballet’s Magic Kingdom: Selected Writings on Dance in Russia, 1911-1925." Rabinowitz will speak on "My Journey Through Ballet's Magic Kingdom."

Friday, April 10, 1:00 p.m., Mead Art Museum, Amherst College
Scott Niichel '06, Russian art specialist at Sotheby's, New York, will talk about working for a major auction house and about the rising market for Russian art. Organized in conjunction with the museum docents' year-long investigation into the theories and practices of art collecting, this event is open to all.

Thursday March 26, 2009, 8:00 p.m., Porter Russian House, Amherst College
Russian House, in collaboration with the Asian Culture House, has invited Professor Steven Sunwoo Lee '01 to provide commentary after a screening of Koryo Saram: The Unreliable People, a feature-length documentary about the forcibly displaced minority community of Koreans in Kazakhstan.  The recipient of a Fulbright research grant in 2001-02 to study the culture of the Korean diaspora in Russia, Lee served as a consultant in the making of the film, providing historical background, language support, and script and editing advice.  This event begins at 8 pm in Porter House and is open to the public.

Wednesday March 25, 2009, 7:30 p.m., Amherst Center for Russian Culture
Steven Sunwoo Lee '01, Assistant Professor of English, University of California (Berkeley) will present a lecture on a little-known Soviet play that became the first American production to feature Asian actors in Asian roles.  Titled “A Soviet Script for Asian America: Roar, China!,” the talk discusses the New York staging in 1930 of this piece of epic political theater as documenting the appeal of the spectacle of Asian revolt against Western imperialism for minority audiences and especially for Asian Americans.  Sponsored by the English Department in conjunction with English 63, this event begins at 7:30 in the Amherst Center for Russian Culture on the second floor of Webster Hall.  All are welcome to attend.

Thursday March 5, 2009, 8:00 p.m., Amherst Center for Russian Culture
Honoring poet Ilya Kaminsky with a Metcalf Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters wrote,  “With his magical style in English, poems in Dancing In Odessa seem like a literary counterpart to Chagall in which laws of gravity have been suspended and colors reassigned, but only to make everyday reality that much more indelible.” Anthony Hecht called him “A superb and vigorous imagination, a poetic talent of rare and beautiful proportions.” Kaminsky, who was born in Odessa and lives in California, writes award-winning poetry in both Russian and English. He teaches creative writing and translation at San Diego State University.

Sunday, February 8, 2009, 3:00 p.m., Amherst Center for Russian Culture
Opera critic and author David Shengold '81 will present an illustrated lecture on "Sampling Pushkin: Tchaikovsky's 'Lyric Scenes' in Eugene Onegin." A reception will follow. Event sponsored by the Vadim Filatov '86 Memorial Lecture Fund.


Webster Hall