Adapted, with permission, from a recent letter by Omid Shams, which first alerted me to this work. Omid Shams is an Iranian poet, translator, and scholar living in Aarhus, Denmark. —Ch.B.
Iranian modern literature, specifically poetry, has always been connected to the revolutionary politics. However, such a connection can be traced mostly in the content and theme rather than the form and language; or, as the opposite of what Bruce Andrews said, it has been the entry of politics into the poetry. Such an approach toward the political poetry created a literary mainstream that turned the main body of literature into a batch of sociopolitical slogans.
Aleksandr Skidan was born in Leningrad in 1965. He is a poet, critic, essayist, and translator. In 2008 his book Red Shifting was published in USA by Ugly Duckling Presse, tr. Genya Turovskaya. He is the coeditor of the New Literary Observer magazine and lives in Saint Petersburg.
Program One: Skidan reads from Red Shifting (Brooklyn: Ugly Ducking Press, 2008) in Russian as well as reading the English translations by Genya Turovskaya. MP3
Program Two: Skidan discusses his Ugly Duckling Press book, Red Shifting, the changes in the literary climate in Russia after 1989, the contemporary situation for poetry in Russia, and the mysticism of Arkadii Dragomoschenko. MP3
American Studies Center, University of Warsaw: “The Pitch of Poetry: Moral Perfectionism, Occupy Wall Street, and the Poetics of Holocaust Representation” (27 November 2014) from Pitch of Poetry (University of Chicago Press, 2016)