SCSU will host “A Reading and Conversation” from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 27 in the Miller Center Auditorium, featuring poets Ilya Kaminsky, Valzhyna Mort and Nikola Madzirov. The event is a partnership between SCSU, the Literary Arts Institute of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, and Central Lakes College‘s Verse Like Water poetry series.
The Minnesota State Arts Board and other grants are assisting in making the event possible, which is a free event that is open to the public.
“It is rare that St. Cloud State is able to host such globally acclaimed artists due to the significant expense, so students who attend will be taking advantage of a rare opportunity to access this kind of cultural/literary event live on campus,” said Dr. Sarah Green, an Assistant Professor of English at SCSU. “I’m looking forward to hearing brilliant and timely poems from three award-winning poets, and I’m also looking forward to hearing these writers — who are also critics and professors — in public conversation with one another about the artistic process, poetry in translation, global events and any other interesting topics that arise.”
Kaminsky, who is a professor of creative writing at Princeton University, is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press) and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press) and co-editor and co-translated many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins), In the Hour of War: Poems from Ukraine (Arrowsmith), and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books). His work was the finalist for The National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Award, The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The National Jewish Book Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, The Whiting Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, Lannan Fellowship, Academy of American Poets’ Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize, and was also shortlisted for National Book Critics Circle Award, Neustadt International Literature Prize, and T.S. Eliot Prize (UK).
Mort is a poet and translator who writes in English and Belarusian. She is the author of three poetry collections: Factory of Tears (Copper Canyon Press 2008), Collected Body (Copper Canyon Press 2011) and Music for the Dead and Resurrected (FSG, 2020). She was honored with the 2021 Griffen Prize in the International category and has had her work honored with the Lannan Foundation fellowship, the Amy Clampitt fellowship, and the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry. Mort’s work has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for the Best Single Poem, and has appeared in Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry Review, Poetry International, Granta, and many more.
Madzirov is a Macedonian poet, editor and translator whose poetry examines both personal and cultural geography in order to trace the nature of our movement across those landscapes. He is the author of Remnants of Another Age (2011) and several collections of poetry including Studentski Zbor award-winner Locked in the City (1999), Aco Karamanov Award-winner Somewhere Nowhere (1999) and Huberta Burda Award-winner Relocated Stone (2007). His additional honors include the Hubert Burda European Poetry Award, the Miladinov Brothers poetry prize and residencies at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, LiteraturRaum in Berlin, KulturKontakt in Vienna, Literatur Haus NÖ in Krems and Villa Waldberta in Munich.
“One of my goals is to expand audience members’ awareness of, and access to, Eastern European literature. These poets have roots in Ukraine, Belarus and Macedonia, respectively,” Dr. Green said. “It’s an especially meaningful time to be hosting a Ukrainian-American writer in particular (Ilya Kaminsky).”