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Eugene Ostashevsky and Brandon Brown at Moe’s Books
March 16, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm PDT
Eugene Ostashevsky is a Russian-American poet and translator based in Berlin and New York. He is the author of three full-length poetry collections in English: Iterature (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2005), The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2008), and The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi (New York Review of Books, 2017).
Writing in LARB, Boris Dralyuk calls The Pirate a “raucous modern-day Anatomy of Melancholy, a seriocomic linguistic performance the likes of which we rarely see, in any tongue. It is a beautiful song, broadcast by an outcast whose language is all his own.” The Italian newspaper Il Manifesto speaks of The Pirate’s “poetics of immigration.” The German edition of the book, translated by Uljana Wolf and Monika Rinck, was awarded the International Poetry Prize from the City of Münster, with the jury praising the original’s “polyphonic and polyglot verbal acrobatics” and linguistic multiplicity. For the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ostashevsky’s work “argues that one must have
distance from language, and also an awareness that no language is only ‘mine’; it is rather many languages of different times and speakers that collide or coalesce under the name ‘English.’ Every
language is, in a sense, a parrot language.” For another German reviewer, The Pirate “deconstructs the strategies of linguistic exclusion concealed by such concepts as “indigenous,” “refugee,” and “native language.” A short opera based on The Pirate by the Italian composer Lucia Ronchetti has recently premiered at the Venice Biennale.
As translator and scholar, Ostashevsky focuses mainly on Russian avant-garde and underground literature. His translation, with Matvei Yankelevich, of Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me to Think (New York Review of Books, 2013) won the 2014 National Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association. He was also the editor and co-translator of OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern, 2006), as well as of a number of books of contemporary Russian poetry, including Arkadii Dragomoshchenko’s Endarkenment (Wesleyan,
2014). He is currently working on puns in Russian Futurist and European avant-garde poetry and painting circa 1913, and preparing an English-language edition of Vasily Kamensky’s Tango with Cows, the first book of Futurist visual poetry.
As visiting professor and writer-in-residence at Humboldt University and Free University in Berlin, Ostashevsky leads seminars on translingual literature. He is also Clinical Professor at the Liberal Studies program at NYU.
Brandon Brown is the author of several books, most recently The Four Seasons (Wonder) and The Good Life (Big Lucks). His work has recently appeared in Art in America, Frieze, Open Space, Believer, and Berkeley Poetry Review. He is an editor at Krupskaya, and edits as well the zine Panda’s Friend. Atelos will publish his next book, a long poem called Work. He lives in El Cerrito, California, under the shade of Albany Hill.