Medvedev & Gessen at Columbia on Wednesday

Just a quickie plug for an event I expect to be terrific, though its 12:00 noon starting time might put it out of reach for those who work downtown. Gessen’s been doing some really interesting translations from the Russian recently (I loved his collaborative translation, with Anna Summers, of Lyudmila Petrushevskaya’s There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby). So here’s his latest project, which sounds fascinating: editing (and in part translating) It’s No Good, by Kirill Medvedev (with translations by Mark Krotow, Cory Merrill and Bela Shayevich). And here’s the official announcement for the event that will be hosted at Columbia this coming Wednesday:

KIRILL MEDVEDEV: IT’S NO GOOD
Wednesday, 24 April 2013, 12:00pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 IAB)
Columbia University

Please join the Harriman Institute and Columbia University’s Slavic Department for a reading and discussion with Russian poet Kirill Medvedev.

Medvedev, whose new collection It’s No Good: Poems/Essays/Actions was published last year (Ugly Duckling Presse and N+1), will be joined by the volume’s editor Keith Gessen for a reading and discussion of Medvedev’s work and the translation by Gessen and others. Medvedev, whom Gessen has dubbed “Russia’s first genuinely post-Soviet writer,” famously broke with the literary world in 2004 when he announced: “I have no copyright to my texts and cannot have any such right.” Two years later his poems were published under the title Without the Permission of the Author.

“It’s No Good offers a broad portrait of the author as an idiosyncratic and uncompromising thinker. It aims to encapsulate the diversity—and the interconnectedness—of his activities as a poet, a cultural critic and an activist.” —Rachel Wetzler, The New York Observer

“Kirill Medvedev is the most exciting phenomenon in Russian poetry at the beginning of the new century. To be fair, that’s not a compliment. It’s a judgment. You get the sense that Medvedev has no fear, and that this fearlessness costs him nothing. Such things are rarely forgiven.” —Dmitry Vodennikov

Hope to see you there: Wednesday at 12:00 noon, International Affairs Building (118th St. & Amsterdam), Room 1219.

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