Dorothea Schlegel Artist in Residence, Research Area 1: "Competing Communities", June 2023
In recent years, Polina Barskova has produced four book-length works across several genres, styles and languages. These include a prizewinning anthology of translations, Written in the Dark: Five Poets in the Siege of Leningrad (2016), works composed during the Nazi blockade of the city that lasted from September 1941 to January 1944 and claimed more than a million victims. Her scholarly study, Besieged Leningrad: Aesthetic Responses to Urban Disaster, written in English, appeared a year later. The same period witnessed the publication of two volumes composed in her native language. Her hybrid prose work Zhivye kartiny (Living Pictures) was published in Russian in 2014 and was awarded the prestigious Andrei Bely Prize; it now appears in vivid, resourceful translations by Catherine Ciepiela (English) and Olga Radetzkaia (German). Her ninth book of poems, Vozdushnaia trevoga (Air Raid), followed three years later; the acclaimed Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort recently provided electric English translations of poems selected from over a decade of Barskova’s work in a collection of the same name. Barskova’s disparate work as scholar, archivist, anthologist and poet converges in her quest to retrieve what has been repressed in forbidden or forgotten pasts – including her own.