Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Photo of Semyon Khan. Image links to event page.



“The raw, braised, and fried”—Semyon Khanin and his Translators: A Poetry Reading and Discussion
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Please join the Harriman Institute for a a poetry reading by Semyon Khanin and discussion with his translators Kevin M.F. PlattEugene Ostashevsky. Moderated by Mark Lipovetsky.

Semyon Khanin numbers as one of Latvia’s most prominent poets. His writing combines existential depth, startling and transformative play with fundamental elements of grammar and syntax, and acute wit and humor, and stands at the forefront of innovative Russian-language poetry today. Khanin will appear together with Kevin M. F. Platt and Eugene Ostashevsky, his longstanding translators into English. This bilingual reading will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with the poet and translators.

Semyon Khanin is a poet and translator. He is an author of the books Tol’ko chto (2003), Opushchennye podrobnosti (2008), Vplav’ (2013), A vam ne kazhetsa, chto eti vashi p’at’ minut kak-to slishkom sil’no zat’anulis’ (2015), No ne tem (selected poems, 2017), Posignal’ (2019), and 2/2 (2023). His books of poems appeared in most European languages. Khanin is a translator of Latvian and American poetry into Russian, and editor of numerous poetry collections of Russian and Latvian poets. He has authored an anthology Latvian/Russian Poetry: Poems in Russian Written by Latvian Poets (2011) with a critical analysis of the material. Khanin is the founding member of the multimedia poetry project Orbita, a creative collective of poets and visual artists whose works sustain a dialogue between various cultures and genres (including literature, music, video and photography, among others). He is the author of performances and installations One Face Theatre, Three-Dimensional Poetry etc.

Eugene Ostashevsky is a poet and translator best known for his editions of the Russian avant-garde, such as OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern UP, 2006). His work has appeared in Best American Poetry and won the National Translation Award, the City of Münster International Poetry Prize, and other prizes.

Kevin M. F. Platt is a specialist in East European poetry, culture and history and a translator of Russian and Latvian poetry. His translations have appeared in World Literature Today, Fence, Pocket Samovar, Jacket2, and other venues. He was the editor of Hit Parade: The Orbit Group (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015) and he is a founder of the Your Language My Ear periodic Russian-English poetry translation symposium. His most recent book is Border Conditions: Russian-Speaking Latvians Between World Orders (Cornell/NIUP, 2024). He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.