For the second installment of “Women, Feminists, and Other Poets: A Series of Readings and Conversations,” the Jordan Center will host Oksana Vasyakina, Elena Fanailova, and Stephanie Sandler.
This April, the Jordan Center will host 6 contemporary Russian poets for a series of readings and conversations. With a view to the recent anthology F-Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry (isolarii, 2020), this series probes the recent history of women writing poetry in Russian. Whether explicitly feminist or otherwise, women have been prominent, if not dominant voices in Russian-language poetry for the past several decades. This series explores the power of language and its role in society, bringing together writing women of various generations and backgrounds to talk about their work, each other, and what it means to be a woman writing in Russian today. The series is organized by Professor Ainsley Morse and NYU PhD Candidate Rebekah Smith.
Oksana Vasyakina is a Moscow-based poet, writer, feminist, and curator of the Contemporary Literary Practices seminar at Moscow’s Higher School of Social Sciences and Economics. She studied at Moscow’s Gorky Literary Institute and the PYR FYR school of performance (in Liza Morozova’s studio). Her debut, Women’s Prose, was published in 2016; her second book—the self-published collection Wind of Fury—in 2017. Her novel Wound was published by NLO in March 2021. Vasyakina’s poems have been translated into English, Spanish and Italian.
Elena Fanailova is the author of eight books of poetry. Her poems have been translated into ten languages; in English translation they have been anthologized in Contemporary Russian Poetry (Dalkey Archive, 2008), The Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets (University of Iowa Press, 2005), and Crossing Centuries: the New Generation of Russian Poetry (Talisman House, 2000). She has received the Andrei Bely Award (1999), the Moscow Score Award (2003), and the Znamya award (2008). In 2013, she was awarded a fellowship in Rome by Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fund. A book in Italian translation, Lena and the People, was published in Rome in 2015, translated and edited by Claudia Skandura. The Russian Version (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009), her first book in English (translated by Stephanie Sandler and Genya Turovskaya), received the 2010 Best Translated Book Award from Three Percent. Born in Voronezh, central Russia, Fanailova majored in linguistics at Voronezh State University and studied medicine at the Voronezh Medical Institute. She has worked as a doctor, a university professor, and a journalist. At Radio Liberty, Fanailova was the host of the radio program Far from Moscow where she covered a broad range of topics, from the Beslan siege to new Russian prose. In recent years, her journalism has been focused on Central Europe and the Balkans. From 2012 to 2018 she traveled extensively in Ukraine interviewing Ukrainian intellectuals for Radio Liberty. She lives in Moscow.
Along with Genya Turovskaya, Stephanie Sandler co-translated Elena Fanailova, The Russian Version (Ugly Duckling Presse), which came out in a second edition in 2019. She is Ernest E. Monrad Professor in the Slavic Department at Harvard University. Recent publications include a co-authored History of Russian Literature (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Watch the event recording on YouTube here.