Poetry. Fiction. Translated by Simon Schuchat and Ainsley Morse. With nearly 300 pages of prose and poetry, SOVIET TEXTS is the first representative selected volume of Prigov's poetry and experimental prose texts to appear in English. It includes short stories about amazing heroes of the revolution and after, and poetic sequences that expose literature, history, and culture to the stark light of a post-modern Gogolian laughter, some of which became cult-classics for his generation—such as the cycle "Image of Reagan in Soviet Literature." A selection of post-Soviet writings, concerned with human mortality and human sinfulness, is also included. While Prigov's writing is very definitely of the Soviet and post-Soviet world, it is consonant with contemporaneous avant-garde writing elsewhere.Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov (1940-2007) was a leading writer of the late Soviet and early post-Soviet era. Almost until the collapse of the Soviet Union, his writing circulated solely in unofficial samizdat editions and overseas publications. He was briefly detained in a Soviet psychiatric hospital in 1986 but released after protests from establishment literary figures. A founder of Moscow Conceptualism, Prigov was a prolific writer, in all genres, as well as an accomplished visual artist. Described by some critics as Russia's ultimate post-modern trickster, Prigov mastered many personas all of which come together in what is finally an enigmatic, Warhol-esque artistic mask. Indeed, during the late Soviet period he mounted a critique of ideological culture in a similar manner to western Pop Art's engagement with consumer culture. His performative work lay the seeds for much contemporary Russian socially-engaged art, and Prigov directly encouraged and inspired the next generation of conceptual dissident artists, such as the well-known Voina (War) group and, later, Pussy Riot, who dedicated their intervention at the 2018 World Cup in Moscow to Prigov's memory. Prigov died in Moscow in 2007, at the age of 66; a lifespan longer than average for a Russian male of his generation. En route to a performance with the Voina group—for which he planned to read poems inside a wardrobe while being carried up the stairs of Moscow University—he collapsed in the subway after a heart attack.
author siteYelena Fedotova @ Open DemocracySophia Kishkovsky @ New York TimesBoris Groys @ E-Flux
Ainsley Morse has been translating 20th- and 21st-century Russian and (former-) Yugoslav literature since 2006. She holds a PhD in Slavic literatures from Harvard University and enjoys teaching all over the Russian and Yugoslav traditions. Previous publications include the co-translation of KHOLIN 66: DIARIES AND POEMS (translated with Bela Shayevic, Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017), Vsevolod Nekrasov (with Bela Shayevich, UDP 2013), Andrei Sen-Senkov's Anatomical Theater (translated with Peter Golub, Zephyr Press, 2013). Upcoming translations include the farcical Soviet pastoral Beyond Tula, by Andrey Egunov, and a collection of theoretical essays by the brilliant Formalist Yuri Tynianov.Author City: NEW YORK, NY USA
Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov was born in Moscow. Trained as a sculptor at the Stroganov Institute, he worked as an architect and made sculptures for public parks during the Soviet era. A prolific writer (in 2005 he estimated that he had already written 35,000 poems), he was a founder of the "Moscow Conceptual art" school. He wrote in almost all conceivable genres (including two novels), was an active performance artist, produced videos, and drawings and installations. He also acted in films, including Taxi Blues. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Prigov published in underground and émigré journals, and was briefly sent to a psychiatric hospital after being arrested by the KGB. With the onset of glasnost and perestroika, he was able to publish and show his visual art in "official" venues, and also exhibited his art outside of Russia. During the Soviet period his work fiercely satirized official language and culture; after the collapse his writing became more philosophic—but both before and after it energetically explored all the possibilities that language and literature offered. He won several prizes, including, in 2002, the Boris Pasternak prize. Prigov died, in Moscow, of a heart attack in 2007. His collected works are being published in Russia, edited by Mark Lipovetsky.Author City: MOSCOW RUS
A retired American diplomat with over twenty-five years of service, Simon Schuchat worked on U.S.-Russian affairs at the State Department in Washington, and in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. His poetry can be found in several rare books, including Svelte (published by Richard Hell when Schuchat was 16), Blue Skies (Some Of Us Press), Light and Shadow (Vehicle Editions), All Shook Up (Fido Productions), and At Baoshan (Coffee House Press), as well as the anthologies None of the Above (edited by Michael Lally) and Up Late (edited by Andrei Codrescu). A native of Washington DC, he attended the University of Chicago and published the journal Buffalo Stamps before moving to New York in 1975 and becoming part of the St. Mark's downtown writing scene. Schuchat was also active in small press publishing; he edited the 432 Review and founded Caveman. In addition to the University of Chicago, he has degrees from Yale, Harvard, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University. He taught at Fudan University in Shanghai, and led workshops at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church. Most recently, his translation of Chinese poet Hai Zi's lyric drama Regicide was published in Hong Kong.Author City: USA