Saturday, Dec 12, 2020 11:00 AM - 1:30 AM
Globus Books stands with the people of Belarus fighting for democracy and justice. We are honored to host a poetry reading by Belarusian poets Dmitrij Strotsev and Valzhina Mort. They will be joined by other poets from the US and Australia. Strotsev will read his protest poetry, some poems were written in prison. English translations will also be read.
Belarusian people fight the presidential fraudulent elections and face mass arrests and torture. Public awareness and opinion of the international community matter as exposure can help save lives and force governments to adopt economic sanctions against Lukashenko and his regime. Please join us to support Belarus.
HOW DO I ATTEND?
This event will be on Zoom and YouTube, on December 12, 2020, at 11 am PDT (San Francisco, 2 pm in EDT (New York), 6 am Sydney, 22.00 Minsk, 22.00 Moscow, 19.00 London; please check in soon. You can join us on Zoom: to register for Zoom conference, please send a private message to Globus Books Facebook page. Free, but with a limited number of seats. It will also be streaming on the Globus Books YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/GlobusBooksSF/videos.
Since August 9, 2020, every weekend, hundreds of thousands of Belarusian people protest in the streets, demanding the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The majority of Belarusan population refuses to recognize his "landslide victory" in the fraudulent presidential election over his popular opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. The EU and US do not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president. Lukashenko, in power for 26 years, refuses to resign, blames the US and EU for inciting protests and continues a brutal crackdown on the protests.
The security forces, riot police and military use stun grenades, water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, barbed wire, and detain thousands. Approximately 20,000 people were arrested since the start of mass protests. Hundreds of detainees are subjected to brutal torture, including beatings, prolonged stress positions, electric shocks, and rape, according to Human Rights Watch. Only on Sunday, December 7th, over 300 people were detained in Minsk, according to Belarus' interior ministry. Among the arrested are journalists, elderly, handicapped people. Dmitrij Strotsev, one of Belarus' foremost poets, will tell his story in person.
DMITRIJ STROTSEV'S ARREST
“On October 21, 2020, Dmitrij Strotsev disappeared without a trace. The day after, his name appeared on a list of detainees of a Minsk detention center known to use torture. He was sentenced to seventeen days imprisonment to be served at a prison outside of Minsk. After thirteen days, he was released and shared the details of his arrest: he had been abducted by unidentified persons, thrown into a van with a sack over his head, and driven to the KGB headquarters [Belarusian security services name goes back to the USSR era when Belarus was the Soviet Republic.]
"Strotsev was sentenced—via Skype!—for participation in an illegal demonstration. That was the official reason for his arrest. However, he might have been detained at random; it is a common practice. A judicial system official asked to comment on the situation, just shrugged his shoulders despondently: “Don’t look for logic where there is none.” Strotsev’s own attitude to his arrest can be summed up by his comment, 'Who is Strotsev? Just one of the 17,000 detainees.'
Despite the arbitrariness of the Belarusian state’s use of violence, there might be another reason behind Strotsev's arrest. Since last summer, he has depicted the protest in a series of protest poems. Fallen Belarus, a poetic chronicle that is a work in progress, is a string of condensed poems illustrating painful yet hopeful developments in the country.
Strotsev will read his protest poetry, including poems written in prison. His poem Bread is dedicated to Sergej Maslovskij, a former chief of police and Strotsev's cellmate. Maslovskij took the side of the protestors, was arrested and was taken straight to the hospital from the detention center, known for the use of torture.”
DMITRIJ STROTSEV (b. 1963), an architect by education, is a poet, critic, and publisher. The author of eleven books of poetry and the winner of the Russian prize (2008), he lives in Minsk, Belarus. His poems were translated into Polish, English, Swedish, French, Italian, Hebrew, Georgian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian.
VALZHYNA MORT is the author of three poetry collections, Factory of Tears (Copper Canyon Press 2008), Collected Body (Copper Canyon Press 2011) and, mostly recently, Music for the Dead and Resurrected (FSG, 2020). Born in Minsk, Belarus, she teaches at Cornell University and writes in English and Belarusian.
TATIANA BONCH-OSMOLOVSKAYA studied physics in the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, then received a Candidate of Philology degree at Moscow State Humanitarian University. Since 2003, Tatiana lives in Sydney, Australia, where she received a Ph.D. degree from UNSW, in contemporary Russian poetry. Tatiana is author of nine books of prose, poetry and translation (in Russian). She is also a researcher, an editor of Articulation literary journal and Board member of Moscow PEN.
IAN PROBSTEIN, Ph.D., is full professor of English at Touro College. He is a bilingual Russian-American poet, scholar, and translator of poetry. He has published two books of literary criticism, twelve books of poetry in Russian, one in English, translated more than a dozen
poetry volumes; has compiled and edited more than thirty books and anthologies of poetry in translation and has about 500 publications. His essays, poems in English and translations of poetry into English have been published
in Atlanta Review, The International Literary Quarterly, Ugly Duckling Presse, and elsewhere. His most recent books are The River of Time: Time-Space, Language and History in Avant-Garde, Modernist, and Contemporary Poetry (English) and Complete annotated edition of T. S. Eliot’s Poetry and Plays (Russian.)
GLOBUS BOOKS is an independent bookstore serving San Francisco since 1971. It offers a wide-ranging stock of books on all things Russia. Globus is actively working with the libraries across the states on completing their holdings for Russian publications, both contemporary and out-of-print. The Globus Books team is well-known for its expertise in first editions of Russian literature, books on the Russian avant-garde, early imprints and travel and voyage books. Under the new management, Globus strives to serve the Bay Area, bridging gaps, continuing cultural traditions and giving voice to unrepresented communities in Russia, the US and the world. Globus Books features several series of literary and cultural events on its YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/GlobusBooksSF), including Literary Translation Round Table, History/Anthropology, Playtime and Storytime for children and more.
This program is hosted and produced by Zarina Zabrisky, the author of three short story collections and a novel "We, Monsters" (Numina Press) and a producer of literary and cultural programs at Globus Books.
The program is co-hosted by The Arts Resistance, a San Francisco Arts collective.
Special gratitude to Anna Halberstadt, a poet, writer and literary translator, for help with organization of this event.
Photo by By Homoatrox - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93684797.