ORBITA: A Russian-English Poetry Reading - Monday, November 14th at 7:30 pm at the Center for Russian Culture (Webster 202)

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 Orbita is an award-winning literary and artistic collective based in Riga, Latvia. The group is known in Russia, Europe and the US for its clever poetic art installations and video poetry projects.  The Amherst Center for Russian Culture will host four of the founding members of the Orbita group, including Semyon Khanin, Artur Punte, Vladimir Svetlov and Sergei Timofejev,
for a Russian-English multimedia poetry performance.  The Orbita group will be joined by its English translators for an exciting evening of cutting edge poetry. 


Live from Moscow: A Conversation with NPR’s Corey Flintoff - Tuesday, October 18th at 5:00 pm - Stirn Auditorium

Corey Flintoff Event - October 18 2016

Corey Flintoff is stateside, having just wrapped up his tenure as NPR’s foreign correspondent in Moscow, where he’s spent the last several years reporting on all things Russia –  from the annexation of Crimea, to the migrant crisis in eastern Europe, allegations of the Kremlin meddling in U.S. elections, Russian involvement in Syria, and more. It’s a fascinating part of the world to cover, and he’s done a tremendous job for NPR.

New England Public Radio, along with the Department of Russian at Amherst College and the Amherst Center for Russian Culture are proud to host him for an evening of conversation about contemporary Russian culture and journalism, the current status of the country, its foreign policy and what it’s like to report from inside.

Stanley Rabinowitz, director of the Center for Russian Culture will introduce the evening. Boris Wolfson, chair of Amherst College’s Russian Department will host the conversation, and of course, there will be plenty of time for your questions.

This event is free and open to the public. All are invited to join us for a reception at the Amherst Center for Russian Culture (202 Webster Hall) following the event. 

"Making Theater in Today's Russia" - Director Mikhail Bychkov: Thursday, October 6 at 4:00 pm in the Center for Russian Culture

                                                                       Mikhail Bychkov

MIKHAIL BYCHKOV, widely known in the Russian performing arts community as the founder of the Voronezh Chamber Theater and the International Platonov Festival, will speak at the Center for Russian Culture on Thursday, October 6th at 4:00 pm.  Bychkov was chosen this year as chair of the jury for the Golden Mask National Theater Prize, Russia’s equivalent of the Tonys, in recognition of his contributions to Russian theater.  

In the words of John Freedman, the most authoritative observer of contemporary Russian theater scene, Bychkov transformed a one-room basement affair into a "spectacular new multi-purpose building in the center of Voronezh that not only turns out ground-breaking theater but also serves as a major meeting place for art, artists and art consumers from all over Russia.” Bychkov's perspective on the place of Russian theater in the cultural transformation that has taken place over the past quarter of a century is especially valuable because he has played a leading role in shaping and developing theater in Russia’s regions, which is where the visionary theater-makers of the New Russian Drama movement have come from, and which are now viewed, in Moscow and Petersburg as incubators of the most far-reaching cultural experimentation. 

Radical poet Roman Osminkin to perform DECEMBER 10 at 7:30pm, Stirn Auditorium


We invite you to an evening performance by ROMAN OSMINKIN on Thursday, December 10 in Stirn Auditorium, from 7:30 to 9:00pm, on the Amherst College campus.  Osminkin is a young poet from St. Petersburg who belongs to a new left-wing arts movement known as "actionism."  Like his predecessor Dmitry Prigov, Osminkin's poetry mixes genres and media and is a kind of performance art.

Roman Sergeevich Osminkin will “lecture” — interrupted by readings from his poems, demonstrations of his videos, and citations of the work of his friends—about poetry’s action and its evolutionary development beyond the page.  What remains of poetry when it leaves the page behind for the synthetic forms of video-poetry, sound-poetry, poetic performance? Is it forced to sacrifice attention to the word and its potential for renewing language? What does it gain in exchange? Roman Sergeevich has the answers!

This event is sponsored by the Lurcy Fund and the Russian Department of Amherst College.

SERGEY GANDLEVSKY - Leading Russian Poet Reads from New Memoir, November 9th at 5:00 pm

Sergey Gandlevsky will be reading at the Amherst Center for Russian Culture next Monday at 5:00.  The occasion is the appearance in English of his award-winning memoir, Trepanation of my Skull.  He will read from that book, as well as from his poetry, all excellently translated into English by Suzanne Fusso.

Gandlevsky is widely recognized as a leading Russian poet.   An integral member of the ’70s generation, Gandlevsky was one of the underground Russian poets who began by writing only for themselves and their circles of friends during the Brezhnev era.  This generation forged new directions in Russian poetry, unfettered by the pressures that burdened Russian writers during the Soviet period. He has published a dozen books of poetry, memoirs, and fiction. He has won both the Little Booker Prize and the Anti-Booker Prize in 1996 for his poetry and prose, an irony he relishes.  He has been translated into several languages, and a volume of his poetry in English translation appeared as A Kindred Orphanhood (Zephyr Press 2003).

His autobiographical novella Trepanation of the Skull is a portrait of the artist as young late-Soviet man. At the center of the narrative are Gandlevsky’s discovery of a brain tumor, his surgery and his recovery in the early 1990s. The story radiates out, relaying the poet’s personal history through 1994, including his unique perspective on the 1991 coup by Communist hardliners resisted by Boris Yeltsin. Gandlevsky tells wonderfully strange but true episodes from the bohemian life he and his literary companions led. He also frankly describes his epic alcoholism and his ambivalent adjustment to marriage and fatherhood. 

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




Professor and Chair of Slavic Languages and Literatures University of California, Berkeley

speaks about her recent book on Tolstoy's non-fiction:
diaries, letters, memoirs, treatises, and more.

Monday, May 4, 2015 • 4:30 PM

Amherst Center for Russian Culture • Reading Room
202 Webster Hall • Amherst College

A leading cultural historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russia, Irina Paperno has, throughout her scholarly career, focused on the multifaceted relationship between life as it is lived and as it is represented and given meaning to by the written word. Her books have transformed the field’s understanding of the place of the literary text and the individual life on the broader stage of Russian culture and provoked a reassessment of longstanding assumptions about the Russian literary canon and its relationship to Russian and Soviet history.  

Paperno's latest monograph, just out from Cornell University Press, develops her interests in the history of private life and the intellectual sources of the concepts of self. It offers an account of Leo Tolstoy's lifelong attempt to find adequate ways to represent the self, to probe its limits and, ultimately, to arrive at an identity not based on the bodily self and its accumulated life experience.  As it guides the readers through Tolstoy’s voluminous, highly-personal nonfiction writings, the book reflects on the problems of self and narrative as well as provides an intellectual and psychological biography of the writer.  Irina Paperno will discuss her book in the broader context of interpreting the large, diverse corpus of non-fiction writings by Russian writers.

This event is sponsored by the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, the Department of Russian at Amherst College and the Eastman Lecture Fund.

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Russian Table for Spring 2015

First Russian Table for Spring 2015


We hope you'll join us for Russian Table each Thursday of the semester, from 12:00 noon to 1:30, beginning on February 5th. 
Meet our professors and enjoy Russian conversation and cameraderie
at Valentine Hall, on the Mezzanine Level.

A talk by Dylan Schneider '06 - "Bringing Slavic Absurdism to the Operatic Stage

A talk by Dylan Schneider '06 - "Bringing Slavic Absurdism to the Operatic Stage
On February 26th, 2015 in the Amherst Center for Russian Culture (202 Webster), alumnus Dylan Schneider will present a talk on his opera Strip-Tease.  Dylan received his Ph.D in music composition from the University of Chicago in 2013, having studied with composers Shulamith Ran and Marta Ptaszynska.  Strip-Tease is the 27-minute opera Dr. Schneider created for his dissertation, and he is now working on a companion piece based on the short story by Andrei Sinyavsky who for many years as a Russian dissident published his prose under the pseudonym Abram Terz.   Dr. Schneider will discuss both the Polish and Russian texts and the operas for which they serve as librettos against the larger background of Slavic absurdism during the 1960s through 1980s which they reflect; a screening of Strip-Tease and a reception will follow.

RUSSIA BY DESIGN: Adventures of Ideas in Global Culture. A Conversation with ILYA OSKOLKOV-TSENTSIPER

RUSSIA  BY DESIGN: Adventures of Ideas in Global Culture.  A Conversation with ILYA OSKOLKOV-TSENTSIPER

Thursday, March 5, 2015 • 4:30 PM

Amherst Center for Russian Culture • Reading Room

202 Webster Hall • Amherst College

A visionary, irreverent cultural entrepreneur, Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper was instrumental in shaping a new image of post-Soviet Russia at the turn of the 21st century through a series of ground-breaking media initiatives, and has been the force behind the reconstruction and repurposing of some of the most important institutions of public life in Moscow.  

How do "Western" — European and American — ideas of the public sphere, of "high" and "popular" culture, of space and community, translate, thrive and become utterly transformed on the Russian soil?

Tsentsiper will present his recent ambitious re-design projects, from Moscow's Gorky Park to Stalin-era People's Economy Exposition (the VDNKh) and discuss the relationship of media, design and politics in the context of the current regime.

This event is sponsored by the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, the Georges Lurcy Speaker Series at Amherst, the Amherst College Department of Russian and Programs in Architectural Studies, European Studies and Film and Media Studies.

Copeland Colloquium: Translator Talks

Please join us for an October "mini-series" of lectures by exciting younger translators of Russian literature.  This will be a great opportunity to learn from and to meet professional translators in our field.  The mini-series is sponsored by the Amherst College Copeland Colloquium, whose theme this year is "Words in Transit: the Cultures of Translation."  Please contact Catherine Ciepiela (caciepiela@amherst.edu) for further information.

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KEITH GESSEN: "Should I translate this Book?"
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:30; Fayerweather Hall 115.

Keith Gessen is the author of the novel All The Sad Young Literary Men, a founding editor of n+1, and the editor and co-translator of Kirill Medvedev’s It’s No Good and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales. He also translated Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, winner of the National Book Critics Circle award.
 He is also a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine.

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JEFF PARKER: "Translation: Writing in a Voice Not Your Own"
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 4:30; Fayerweather Hall 115
Jeff Parker's most recent book is Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal. He co-edited the anthologies Rasskazy: New Fiction From a New Russia and Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States. He co-translated the novel Sankya by Zakhar Prilepin, and he teaches in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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MATVEI YANKELEVICH: "The Art of Mistranslation: Contemporary Poets Taking LIberties with Baudelaire, Dickinson, Shakespeare and Trakl"
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 4:30; Fayerweather Hall 115.

Matvei Yankelevich is the author of the poetry collection Alpha Donut (United Artists Books) and the novella-in-fragments Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books), and several chapbooks. He is the translator of Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook/Ardis), and has contributed translations to several books and anthologies, including Alexander Vvedensky's An Invitation for Me to Think (NYRB Poets), Night Wraps the Sky: Writings By and About Mayakovsky (FSG), and Contemporary Russian Poetry (Dalkey Archive). He is one of the founding editors of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he curates the Eastern European Poets Series. He has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa), Hunter College, and Colorado College, and is a member of Writing Faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. In Fall 2014, he is teaching "The Art of the Book" at Columbia University's School of the Arts and is a visiting professor at Wesleyan University.

Professor Catherine Ciepiela, Chair of the Russian Department, is a member of the Steering Committee for the “Words in Transit” project of this year’s Copeland Colloquium