Thursday, December 13, 2007


In August, LitKarta, the most important Russian literature related website, came into existence. LitKarta is the brainchild of Dmitry Kuzmin (one of the most productive curators of contemporary Russian literature). Kuzmin’s idea was to create a site that would help Russian authors, from different regions, be aware of each others’ work. The idea is now a reality, and the project is huge!

Russia is made up of eighty-five regions (some of which are larger than Texas), and each region has its own capital. Because of Russia’s enormous size it is often easier to focus on Moscow and St. Petersburg than to search the provinces for the next Velimir Khlebnikov.

Russia may have officially abandoned the centralized system, but in reality both economically and artistically Moscow and St. Petersburg are pretty much the only game in town. People like Dmitry Kuzmin are attempting to change this, and LitKarta is such an attempt. It levels the playing field by putting cities like Samara on par with Moscow. Each region and capital is allotted its own space, and the authors in each region are given the same opportunities.

The project is ambitious. The site contains: authors’ bios, samples of written work and spoken word, a calendar of literary events, a social network of blogs, a list of literary projects, and so forth. If successful LitKarta will be the first of its kind, and may even serve as a model for future projects in other countries. Just imagine such a project in Europe, or the United States.

We will have to see. For now LitKarta is just beginning to blossom. As the project develops it will be interesting to observe how the Russian literary community responds. If successful there is talk of an English version! That way not only Russians, but English speakers will be able to participate in Russia’s vibrant literary scene.

For those of you who can read Russian I strongly encourage you to check out this site.


Anatoly Kudryavitsky said...

Peter, I am afraid that you've been fooled into believeing that litkarta is a decent site. Dmitri Kuzmin, the site owner, is infamous for adding dozens of his friends and confidants to his supposedly informational sites, such as litkarta ru and vavilon. At the same time he has left out scores of good authors whose only fault was that they didn't support Mr Kuzmin. Formerly the literary editor of Russian Wikipedia, he was banned from it for insulting writers. Wikipedia reported that some of these writers sued him. Mr Kuzmin's only purpose is to impose his authority on the Russian literary circles. This is, indeed, some kind of 'dictatorship brewing there'. Hopefully, not for long.
With best wishes,
Anatoly Kudryavitsky,
writer and literary translator
Dublin, Ireland, ex-muscovite

Peter Golub said...

Perhaps you'd like to give a few names of the people he's purportedly left out because of personal bias. Also, what great literary curator isn’t biased? Kuzmin is by far doing the most work in the Russian literary scene. This site is an official Russian literary site, backed by legitimate government sponsors. Who else, who of Kuzmin’s critics could possibly build such a project!? If not for him who else would curate all those events, publish all those books, and promote young Russian poetry. Who would promote poets like Tatyana Moseeva, Julia Idlis, or Mariana Geide? These young poets aren’t just Kuzmin’s friends but valuable contributors to contemporary poetry. I myself have published some of these poets in the States, and they are very well received.