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February 2021

#Russophonia: New Writing in Russian

Image: Aureliya Akmullayeva, from the triptych Daydreams. Courtesy of the artist.

This month we spotlight new writing in Russian. Much of the Russophone literary conversation takes place online, in a vibrant context of immediacy and responsiveness to social and political events, and is conducted by writers from a range of non-Russian backgrounds. The writers here address identity, feminism, war, and the particular nature of post-Soviet existence in work that subverts traditional notions of Russian literature. Alisa Ganieva portrays a car crash turned existential debate. Ukrainian poet Danyil Zadorozhnyi limns the agony of a country at war. Novelist Olga Breininger crashes a G20 summit, while poet Xenia Emelyanova refracts politics through a maternal lens. Alla Gorbunova flashes on disorienting scenes of daily life; slam poet Dinara Rasuleva interrogates nationality; Ksenia Zheludova puts lyric poetry to political use. And Galina Rymbu interviews editor and poet Ilya Danishevsky on bringing complex literary networks from the digital realm to a print readership. Guest editors Hilah Kohen and Josephine von Zitzewitz contribute an informative introduction to this scintillating literature.

Young Russophonia: New Literature in Russian

These writings spark immediate conversations through rapid-fire literary texts rather than typical online commentary.

Munkar and Nakir

"Driving here, did you know you'd die today?"

Letter to Ukraine

Like the border between the word leave and the concept of returning

There Was No Adderall in the Soviet Union

I am the same sort of export as a Kalashnikov rifle or our great suicidal writers.

About Time to Smile at Homeless People

They offered me twice the work with no raise, and i took it / because I'm like Russia.


Stories from “Ings & Oughts”

It wasn’t a plane at all, but a car flying through the sky.


Three Observations, Untitled

The most horrible things, remember this, are incremental.


Destined from Birth

Enough of their butchery.


“Reality (Unfortunately?) Varies”: A Conversation Between Galina Rymbu and Ilya Danishevsky

"It seems to me—perhaps naively—that poetry has the ability to examine things in a maximally authentic way."


Book Reviews

The Exact Number of Stars: André Naffis-Sahely Translates Ribka Sibhatu

Reviewed by Mona Kareem

The ongoing collaboration between Sibhatu and Naffis-Sahely confirms my belief that the connection between poet and translator is a lifetime commitment, to grow and write and think together.

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