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First of all, I draw the attention of readers to a coming event when Robert Chandler will be talking about Velimir Khlebnikov the Russian futurist and reading from his translations of his work (to be included in a forthcoming Penguin anthology of Russian poetry).

The Poetry of Velimir Khlebnikov Wed 12 December 2012 – 7.30pm
Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A  Tickets: £7, conc. £5

Robert Chandler writes :
“Alongside Mayakovsky, Khlebnikov was the most important of the Russian Futurists. He has much in common with his contemporary, Guillaume Apollinaire. Both were provincials, feted as geniuses when they moved to their country’s capital. Both were close to the most important visual artists of their time. Apollinaire was close to Picasso, Khlebnikov to both Pavel Filonov and Vladimir Tatlin. And both Apollinaire and Khlebnikov wrote apparently simpler, yet still more startling work in their last years; their early technical experimentation is linked to a willingness to follow thoughts and feelings of all kinds wherever they may lead.”
At the same time I draw attention to two new books by the indefatiguable Robert Chandler who seems to be turning out translations from the Russian at the rate Dickens wrote novels.

Platonov1. a new expanded edition of Andrey Platonov’s HAPPY MOSCOW (NYRB Classics).  This includes not only a revised translation of the novel but also four closely related shorter works: an essay, a film script & two stories.

“Moscow Chestnova is a bold and glamorous girl, a beautiful parachutist who grew up with the Revolution. As an orphan, she knew tough times—but things are changing now. Comrade Stalin has proclaimed that “Life has become better! Life has become merrier!” and Moscow herself is poised to join the Soviet elite. But her ambitions are thwarted when a freak accident propels her flaming from the sky. A new, stranger life begins. Moscow drifts from man to man, through dance halls, all-night diners, and laboratories in which the secret of immortality is actively being investigated, exploring the endless avenues and vacant spaces of the great city whose name she bears, looking for happiness, somewhere, still.
Unpublishable during Platonov’s lifetime, Happy Moscow first appeared in Russian only in 1991. This new edition contains not only a revised translation of Happy Moscow but several related works: a screenplay, a prescient essay about ecological catastrophe, and two short stories in which same characters reappear and the reader sees the mind of an extraordinary writer at work.”

2. RUSSIAN MAGIC TALES FROM PUSHKIN TO PLATONOV (Penguin Classics, Dec. 2012).  This is divided equally between oral folk tales, collected by Afanasyev and many other folklorists, and literary versions of folktales by four great writers: Pushkin, Teffi, Bazhov and Platonov.


While I am about it I might as well let you know about another reading on   Wednesday 5th December, 8pm onwards

South Bank Poetry Issue 14 launch readings at the Poetry Cafe

Admission is £5.50/£4.50 including a copy of SBP14 worth £3.50, plus refreshements.  Those who have already purchased a copy
pay £2/£1 – bring your copy with you as contributors will be reading their poems in the magazine, plus others. Subscribers get free entry.

“Many of the contributors will be reading, including: Claire Booker, Ruth O’Callaghan, Stuart McKenzie, Bernard Battley, Sarah Lawson,
Rosemary Drescher, Christian Ward, Chris Hardy, Gillie Robic, Michael Wyndham, Kate Wakeling, Susannah Hart, Jim Alderson, Angela
Croft, Will Burns, Laura Hume, Hannah Langworth, Sarah Rookledge and Peter Ebsworth.

Hosted by Peter Ebsworth and Katherine Lockton

Please encourage as many friends as possible to come. Contributors get free entry, but their guests have to pay, although, of course, they also get a copy of the magazine. Also copies of back issues will be on sale.

We look forward to seeing you on what should be a great evening.”