A seminar with Val Vinokur '94 of Eugene Lang College and The New School
In 2017, Val Vinokur published The Essential Fictions, his annotated translation of 72 stories by Isaac Babel. In his new book, Relative Genitive, Vinokur translates two of the great Russian poets of the early 20th century: the Acmeist neo-classicist Osip Mandelstam and the Futurist revolutionary Vladimir Mayakovsky––their work woven together by the thread of Vinokur’s own poems, echoing the sound and spirit of the poets he has translated, and collapsing the distance between high culture and low, beauty and wreckage, origin and destination. Val will focus his discussion on two texts that depict the fate of animals (and humans) in Revolution: Babel’s Red Cavalry story “My First Goose” and Mayakovsky’s poem “Getting Along with Horses.”
Val Vinokur (AC '94) was born in Moscow and immigrated to Miami Beach as a child. He is an associate professor of literary studies at Eugene Lang College and The New School, where he also serves as chair of liberal arts in the B.A. Program for Adults and directs the minor in literary translation. He is the author of The Trace of Judaism: Dostoevsky, Babel, Mandelstam, Levinas; and his work as a co-translator with Rose Réjouis was recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. His annotated translation of 72 stories by Isaac Babel, The Essential Fictions, was published in 2017. Vinokur is a senior editor at Public Seminar and is the founding editor of Poets & Traitors Press, which recently published his new book Relative Genitive: Poems with Translations from Osip Mandelstam and Vladimir Mayakovsky.