Festival of Eastern & Central European Poets
Guild Complex & Chopin Productions

Although their historical and cultural paths and their present situations are quite different, at least one thing differentiates Poland, Russia, and Slovenia from the rest of the Slavic speaking nations: while each of these cultures has produced major prose writers and dramatists, in the 20th century the main focus and strength of their literary production has been in lyric poetry.


10/29/1999 - 10/29/1999


Although their historical and cultural paths and their present situations are quite different, at least one thing differentiates Poland, Russia, and Slovenia from the rest of the Slavic speaking nations: while each of these cultures has produced major prose writers and dramatists, in the 20th century the main focus and strength of their literary production has been in lyric poetry. More important, the lyric tradition in all three of these countries remains extremely strong, despite all of the traumas and shocks accompanying the demise of the communist project. As a way to celebrate the poetic traditions of these lands, the Northwestern University Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures has organized a major conference entitled ?Three Lands, Three Generations: Poetry from Eastern Europe Today? to be held October 27-30, 1999. The three days of the conference will be devoted to scholarly discussions of the questions raised by the readings, less formal presentations by the invited Anglo-American poets (all of whom have frequent contact with the poetry of Eastern and Central Europe), and discussions of the problems and discoveries of poetic translation. Ales Debeljak has published five books of poetr in Slovenian, most recently Mesto in otrok (The City and Child, 1996). His 1990 volume entitled Minut strahu appeared in English as Anxious Moments in 1994. In addition to his position as the leading younger poet in Slovenia, Debeljak is Chair of the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Ljubljana, a widley respected essayist and cultural critic, and a translato of contemporary American poetry. His book of essays on the demise of Yugoslovia entitled Zaton idolov appeared in English in 1994 as Twilight of the Idols. Pawel Marcinkiewicz born in 1969, Marcinkiewicz has published two books of poems: Zawieram z Toba przymierze, (Contracting an Alliance 1993), and Swiat dla opornych (World for the Stubborn 1997). Since his poetic debut in 1989, he has established himself as one of the most inriguing poets of his generation. He also teaches and translates English and American poetry. He lives and works in Opole.
Anzhelina Polonskaia belongs to the youngest generation of Russian Poets. She has published widely in the leading Russian poetry magazines, and her first collection Sever I iug. Riad dopushchenii (North and South. A Series of Proximities) will appear in 1999. Tomas Salamun is by far the best known Slovenian poet today. He has published some 29 volumes of poetry in Slovenian, most recently Crni labod(Black Swan, 1997), and Knjiga za mojega brata ( The Book for my Brother, 1997). In 1988 ECCO Press published a volume in English entitled The Selected Poems of Tomaz Salamun, and in 1997 another English-Language volume entitled The Four Questions of Melancholy, Selected and New Poems was published by White Pine Press. At the present time, Salamun lives in New York City, where he is Slovenia?s Cultural Attache. Ales Steger burst onto the Slovenian poetry scene with the award winning collection Sahovnice ur (1995) which he published at the age of 22. This collection was followed more recently by Kasmir (Kasmir, 1997). Steger is the organizer of the Medana poetry festival.
Professor Andrew Wachtel has published widely on the literatures and cultures of Russia ant the Former Yugoslavia. His most recent books include Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation: Literature and Cultural Politics in Yugoslavia and Petrushka: Sources and Contacts(both 1998). He is currently working on a book provisionally entitled Remaining Relevant after Communism which is devoted to the strategies writers in Eastern and Central Europe have adopted to retain their traditional prestige in the post-Communist period. Wachtel is also a renowned translator of contemporary Russian and Slovenian poetry

Performers
Tomaz Salamun, Ales Debelijak, Pawel Marcinkiewicz andAleso Steger, Curator Andrew Wacthel

Tags: Literary, Polish, New Europe, 1999