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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


New Work in Slavonic Studies Lecture Series - 'The Russian Poet Who Cannot Be Seen or Heard'

We are delighted to invite you to the final talk in the New Work in Slavonic Studies guest speaker lecture series, 'The Russian Poet Who Cannot Be Seen or Heard' with Stephanie Sandler (Harvard University). This talk will take place on Thursday 14 March at 17:15 in Winstanley Theatre, Trinity College.


The performance of elusiveness is a signature poetic feature of the work of Nika Skandiaka. She was a fantastically productive poet and translator for nearly twenty years, until she took down nearly all her blogs in early 2022. Even before then, she had never read in public, recorded her work, or been photographed. Although she was herself an accomplished and prolific translator, largely from contemporary English, Irish, and American poetry, she prohibited translating her own texts. With their mixed languages and alphabets and their symbols from computer coding, the texts are arguably themselves always already translated. But even multilingual texts have been translated, often powerfully so. How to make legible her acts of withholding, disappearance, and control? What are the ethics of critical writing about such a poet, and is it possible to play by her rules and still effectively analyze the poetic world she created? How if at all does her work advance a project of freedom?

Stephanie Sandler, Ernest E. Monrad Professor in the Harvard Slavic Department, has written about contemporary Russian poetry for nearly two decades, following on her work on Pushkin and myths of Pushkin in Russian culture.  She was a co-author of A History of Russian Literature, which Oxford reissued in paperback in 2023. Princeton University Press will publish her new book, The Freest Speech in Russia: Poetry Since 1989, in the fall.

The talk will be followed by a wine reception.