Russia is Burning: Russian Poetry of World War II

Monday, Jun 22, 2020 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Online Event

This Literary Translation Round Table is held on June 22, the anniversary of the Nazi Germany invasion of the USSR. We are honored to present Maria Bloshteyn's forthcoming anthology of the WWII Russian poetry, Russia is Burning: Russian Poetry of World War II. It is the first anthology of its kind to include voices from the Gulag, Samizdat, the émigré community, and other marginalized groups, published this year by Smokestack Books.

Its editor and primary translator, Maria Bloshteyn, will discuss her work on Russia is Burning with Robert Chandler, Boris Dralyuk, and Irina Mashinski, co-editors of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry.

From the back cover of the anthology: The Second World War occupies a special place in Russian memory. Between the German invasion in June 1941 and the liberation of Berlin in May 1945, over 26 million Soviet civilians, servicemen and women were killed fighting the Nazis. The war also occupies a special place in the history of Russian poetry.

The conversation will touch on the work of Boris Slutsky, Arseny Tarkovsky, and other major poets of World War II, the pleasures of collaborative translation, and the importance of sound in poetic renderings. Participants will also speak about their collaborative project PORTRAITS WITHOUT FRAMES, by Lev Ozerov.

Moderator: Boris Dralyuk

Our live Zoom conference starts at 10 am PST (San Francisco), 1 pm EST (NY), 6 pm (London) and you can register now by sending us a message. The event is free but the number of seats is limited. The event will also live-stream and later featured on the Globus YouTube channel. Subscribe now at

Maria Bloshteyn was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and emigrated to Canada when she was nine years old. She received her PhD from Toronto’s York University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, where she examined Dostoevsky’s impact on American literature and culture. She is the author of The Making of a Counter-Culture Icon: Henry Miller’s Dostoevsky (2007) and the translator of Alexander Galich’s Dress Rehearsal (2009) and Anton Chekhov’s The Prank (2015). Her translations have also appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015).

Robert Chandler's translations from Russian include many works by Alexander Pushkin, Vasily Grossman and Andrey Platonov. He has also compiled three anthologies for Penguin Classics: of Russian short stories, of Russian magic tales and, with Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski, The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry. He is a co-translator of three volumes of memoirs and stories by Teffi and has published a short biography of Pushkin. Teaching is increasingly important to him, and - in normal times - he runs a monthly translation workshop at Pushkin House (Bloomsbury).

Boris Dralyuk is the executive editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is co-editor (with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski) of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution and Ten Poems from Russia, and translator of Isaac Babel, Mikhail Zoshchenko, and other authors. His poems have appeared in The New Criterion, The Yale Review, Jewish Quarterly, and elsewhere.

Irina Mashinski moved to the US from Moscow in 1991. She is the author of ten books of poetry in Russian. She is co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk, of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015) and of the Cardinal Points Journal (Brown University, Slavic Studies Department). Her work has been translated into several languages and appeared in Poetry International, Plume, The World Literature Today, Asymptote, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of several literary awards and International Hawthornden fellow.