Writing Transforms Us: Conference on young Russian poetry of the 2010s

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September 67, 2018. New Holland Island.
The 1st Revision Book Festival in Saint Petersburg


On September 6-7, New Holland Island will host the conference titled Writing Transforms Us as a part of Revision – Saint Petersburg International Book Festival, organized by New Holland and the Word Order project. The conference’s agenda revolves around the young poetry written in Russian in the 2010s and new poetic practices, which have been in focus of the Arkady
Dragomoshchenko Award during its past four editions.

Arkady Dragomoshchenko Award is an award given annually to a poet who writes in the Russian language and is not older than 27. It was founded by bookstore and cultural venue Word Order.

Curators and founders of the award named it after Arkady Dragomoshchenko as an acknowledgement of the poet’s legacy, which has proved to be influential not only for developments in the late 20th century’s Russian poetry but also became “focal” for new generations of poets. The highly reflective, innovative way of writing that he developed is referenced and has parallels both in international poetry and that written in Russian. This kind of reflection necessarily leads to a renewal of poetic forms, rooted in a different understanding of poetic subjectivity. In addition to being a point of attraction, Dragomoshchenko’s writing becomes a point of departure, of negation; becomes a kind of writing that “transforms us”.

Organizing committee: Elena Kostyleva, Galina Rymbu, Alexander Skidan, Konstantin Shavlovsky
Coordination: Stanislava Mogileva

Winners of the Arkady Dragomoshchenko Award:

2017: Kuzma Koblov, Moscow
2016: Ekaterina Zakharkiv, Moscow, and Eduard Lukoyanov, Moscow
2015: Alexandra Tsibulya, Saint Petersburg
2014: Nikita Safonov, Saint Petersburg



Agenda and schedule of the conference Writing Transforms Us
September 6, Thursday
New Holland Island. The Pavilion

Conference opening. Introduction by the organizing committee.


Presentation by Ilya Kukulin (Moscow, Russia): “The 2010s’ generation in Russian poetry: between the aesthetic and the political”.


“Technology and poetics: mediated production of the beautiful”
Moderated by: Pavel Arsenev (Geneva, Switzerland), Nikita Sungatov (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Boris Arvatov made a proposal to determine art by real functions of things: in his case that was architecture and painting, which were to win their utilitarian use back; in literature, according to Sergey Tretiakov, the procedural sketch was supposed to supersede fiction literature. In all of these cases, engineering and practical interest led to a union of art and technology, creativity and (industrial) production, and also to removing the contradiction between “beauty” and “usefulness”. Forms that do not conceal their function or hide from it but grow tectonically from material needs possess the highest aestheticism.

Contemporary arts, literature included, have long transcended this utopian horizon of the creation-production complex and tried, in various ways, to discover a front line: between avant-garde and kitsch, official culture and underground culture, gallery art and activist art. Production has long acquired a post-industrial nature, in which not just movement but cognitive operations of an individual are mechanized; and yet, literary practice is still archaically seen as a solitary, non-mechanized activity, enabled by privilege, whether the latter is recognized or not.

Discussing contemporary literary forms is impossible without reflecting on contemporary post-industrial technology; by the same token, it is impossible to deny the very dimension of everyday technological production as definitive of arts. Every one of us moves around on daily basis by means of GPS navigation (not biomechanics), makes use of results of big data processing and employs speech genres determined by mobile network protocols, as opposed to the constraints of a poetic sequence. Why not pay attention to algorithmic operations and material carriers, which enable not just distribution but perhaps production itself? Why not see the origin of so called inspiration in protocols of data transmission and constructive principles, in genres of speech born out of everyday communication mediated by mobile devices? And finally, why not look at history of literature at large as a material history of carriers and procedures, gestures and writing tools, which “also work on our thoughts”?

At the same time, due to its sensitivity to its mediatic foundations, literature is able to reflect on its dependence on technology in addition to just being linked to it; implicate technology into its very matter in order to annihilate it; and push forward into future, into technologies, languages and codes that are not yet invented. The model of antagonism between writing and machine exists alongside the model of their union, but both distance themselves in equal measure from a romantic idea of sensibility, from a bourgeois drama played out between affects and identities – to supersede them with a complex relationship between human and technology.

Theoretical framework:
Evgeny Bylina (Moscow, Russia): “Profanation and nihilism: deactivation as a poetic possibility (on Dmitry Gerchikov’s poetry)”
Marina Simakova (Saint Petersburg, Russia): “Poetry as transmission: from discursive alliances to a coalition of media”
Yozhi Stolet (Saint Petersburg, Russia): “Models of assembly of the poetic and the technological: “machine” poetry vs. xenopoetry vs. digital poetry vs. others”

Framework of writing: Rostislav Amelin (Moscow, Russia), Dmitry Gerchikov (Moscow, Russia), Andrei Cherkasov (Moscow Russia)
Between frameworks: Evgenia Suslova (Moscow-Nizhni Novgorod, Russia)


“Contemporary poetry and its cognitive horizon”
Moderated by: Evgenia Suslova

Contemporary writing finds itself in a peculiar relationship with knowledge and means of its production. On the one hand, this peculiarity stems from redistribution of relations between the subject and the environment, conceptualized as a complex topological space, inhabited not so much by objects as by relationships and procedures. On the other hand, it has to do with an evolving status of natural language as related to non-verbal communication and logics of computer languages, which give access to a pure activity of living creatures. It can be said that in today’s artistic practice, including the practice of writing, various fields of micro-experience are being explored and grasped. That grasp necessitates working with deeper layers of language and understanding cognitive processes. New logics require a new vision of language’s conceptualization and the nature of a cognitive event in contemporary poetry. The panel will investigate the problem from the point of view of cognitive science, neurophilosophy and new phenomenology; and try to approach a language of description adequate to the writing itself in its complexity.

Theoretical framework:
Alla Mitrofanova (Saint Petersburg, Russia): “Hypersensitivity and quantum ontology of apparatuses”
Maxim Miroshnichenko (Moscow, Russia): “Plasticity and arch- / neuro-writing”
Irina Mironova (Nizhni Novgorod, Russia): “On neuropoetry: the concept and what precedes it”
Anna Rodionova (Nizhni Novgorod, Russia): “Text as interface: mediation of production and perception in contemporary poetry”
Evgenia Suslova: “Writing as a cognitive technology”

Framework of writing: Irina Mironova, Maxim Miroshnichenko, Anna Rodionova


“Feminist and queer writing”.
Moderated by: Galina Rymbu (Lviv, Ukraine).

Feminist and queer agenda grows in importance at the post-Soviet space – in the context of contemporary art and interdisciplinary practices, but also in the domain of literature. The issue is not just the subject matter or content; it is also at the level of poetic method and language, in which “gender anxiety” permeates the poetic subject and the environment, of which he, or she, or they, is an extension/continuation. Gender, feminist and queer sensibility, the logic of a “nomadic polyglot” (in Rosi Braidotti’s terms), ecology of language and affect, and sensitivity to the environment all supersede the engagement and “identity politics” in the new poetic practices that will be discussed at the panel.

Theoretical framework:
Dmitry Kuzmin (Ozolnieki, Lativa): “Traces of queer identity in the young generation’s poetry”
Jonathan Brooks Platt (Saint Petersburg, Russia): “Communal body in Oksana Vasyakina’s Wind of Fury and Lubov Makarevskaya’s Choir
Varvara Nedeoglo (Moscow, Russia): “Linguistic terrorism, subversion of gender and the subject on the debris of gender stereotypes in contemporary poetry”
Galina Rymbu: “New methods of feminist writing and affective politics of the poetic”
Practical F-Writing Seminar (Elena Kostyleva, Maria Bikbulatova, Elena Fofanova et al.) (Saint Petersburg, Russia): “A voice on its own, not especially yours: Transformation of individual writing in collective practice”

Framework of writing: Lolita Agamalova (Moscow, Russia), Viktor Bagrov (Kondopoga, Russia), Oksana Vasyakina (Moscow, Russia), Ivan Sokolov (Berkeley, USA), Friedrich Chernyshev (Kyiv, Ukraine)



September 7, Friday

New Holland Island, The Pavilion 



“Documentary poetry / objectivism”
Moderated by: Vitaly Lekhtsier (Samara, Russia), Stanislav Lvovsky (Oxford, UK)

How and to what end do poets refer to documents (personal or official), why does documentary impulse become significant for a contemporary poetic utterance? What happens to the subject and the very identity of the poetic in documentary poetry? It seems that the answers to these questions should be searched for in the long-term processes of transformation and complication of poetic experience, as well as in the peculiarities of the intensifying search for an “objective” point of speech and evaluation of reality, which transcends the traditional “subjectivism”.

Theoretical framework:
Vitaly Lekhtsier: “Poet and document: The subject’s status and working principles of docupoetry”
Denis Larionov (Moscow, Russia): “(Documentary) poetry in the age of total visibility”
Alexander Kolesnikov (Nizhni Novgorod, Russia): “Documenting as a practice of writing: Two examples from American poetry”

Framework of writing: Pavel Arsenev, Ekaterina Zakharkiv (Moscow, Russia), Maria Malinovskaya (Moscow, Russia), Nikita Sungatov

“Dragomoshchenko’s legacy and young writing”
Moderated by: Alexander Skidan (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Many formal devices typical of Arkady Dragomoshchenko’s method are distinctly discernible in contemporary poetry: parataxis, abrupt transitions between modalities of utterance, thick associativity, aiming toward a “non-realizable”, “negative” figures, such as the canonical “seagulls’ void screams” and “coffee’s Heraclitean iris”; but also, so are deeper, structural elements that determine the content plane. Dragomoshchenko’s poetry, especially in the late period, reshapes the very poetic domain by intruding into the realm of “natural sciences” and philosophy and leading us back to their common origin. This panel will try to trace and explore this “return”, as well as points of intersection and departure in the practices of the younger generation of poets.

Theoretical framework:
Anna Glazova (Hamburg, Germany): “Syntactic branching as a poetic device”
Dmitry Golynko (Saint Petersburg, Russia): “The New Depressed: The millennial generation amid the conditions of digital capitalism”
Alexey Konakov (Saint Petersburg, Russia): “Arkady Dragomoshchenko et al.: Obscurity, euphoria, inflation”
Ivan Sokolov (Berkeley, USA): “Dragomoshchenko’s legacy”: Towards a problem statement”

Framework of writing: Vlad Gagin (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Ekaterina Zakharkiv, Alexey Kruchkovsky (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Alexandra Tsibulya (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Ksenia Charyeva (Moscow, Russia)


Book launch: Mannelig in Chains by Ilya Danishevsky
Moderated by Elena Kostyleva.


Book launch: Prototypes by Kuzma Koblov
Moderated by Nikita Sungatov.

Closing session. Arkady Dragomoschenko memorial reading.

Participants: Lolita Agamalova, Rostislav Amelin, Pavel Arsenev, Viktor Bagrov, Ksenia Charyeva, Andrei Cherkasov, Friedrich Chernyshev, Ilya Danishevsky, Nastya Denisova, Vlad Gagin, Dmitry Gerchikov, Anna Glazova, Dmitry Golynko, Kuzma Koblov, Alexander Kolesnikov, Elena Kostyleva, Alexey Kruchkovsky, Dmitry Kuzmin, Denis Larionov, Vitaliy Lekhtsier, Stanislav Lvovsky, Maria Malinovskaya, Irina Mironova, Maxim Miroshnichenko, Stanislava Mogileva, Anna Rodionova, Galina Rymbu, Yanis Sinaiko, Alexander Skidan, Ivan Sokolov, Nikita Sungatov, Anton Talsky, Oksana Vasyakina, Vera Voinova, Ekaterina Zakharkiv, Yaroslav Zakharova.



Side program

Word Order (Fontanka River Emb., 15)

September 4, 19:30
Book launch: Living in Space by Galina Rymbu. Moderated by Alexander Skidan.


September 5, 19:30
Book launch: Make Poetry Great Again by Dmitry Gerchikov. Moderated by Pavel Arsenev and Nikita Sungatov.


September 9, 19:30
Seminar by poet and translator Anna Glazova on Paul Celan’s essay “The Meridian: On the problem of poetic sovereignty”.