Eugene Ostashevsky: “Tango with Cows”. Russian Futurism and Bourgeois Culture on the Eve of World War I
Eugene Ostashevsky will talk about Vasily Kamensky’s Tango with Cows, a book of Russian Futurist visual poetry published in the spring of 1914, at roughly the same time as the Zang Tumb Tumb of F.T. Marinetti and the first calligrammes of Guillaume Apollinaire. The Petersburg avant-garde writer Kamensky became the first European poet to train as an airplane pilot until crashing his Blériot XI during a show flight returned him to literature. As third partner of the Russian Futurist tour of 1913-1914 with Vladimir Mayakovsky and David Burliuk, Kamensky eagerly innovated in the fields of book art and visual poetry, printing his typographical experiments on brashly colored wallpaper. Composed at the height of the Russian tango craze, Tango with Cows provides us pictures of Moscow’s nightlife circa January 1914—the movies, the circus, the skating rinks, the modernist art gallery, the after-hours clubs, and, last but not least, the public baths—as it reminisces about the author’s flying over Warsaw and sailing to Constantinople. It also features language play that helps understand the Russian reception of Picasso. Ostashevsky is creating an English-language version of Tango with Cows with the Chicago artist Daniel Mellis.
Eugene Ostashevsky is a Russian-American poet and translator who teaches in New York University. As the author of two books of poetry, most notably The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza, he has received the Berliner Künstlerprogramm fellowship from DAAD. Translations of his poems by Uljana Wolf and Monika Rinck have appeared in Schreibheft,Kulturstiftung des Bundes and Karawa.net. As scholar and translator of Russian twentieth-century poetry, especially the work of Alexander Vvedensky and Daniil Kharms, he has won the National Translation Award and other prizes.
Zeit & Ort
23.11.2015 | 18:00
Peter Szondi-Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft,
Habelschwerdter Allee 45,
Raum JK 28/228