The DFG Center for Advanced Studies “Russian-Language Poetry in Transition” (FOR 2603) cordially invites you to a live lecture by Josephine von Zitzewitz (The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø), entitled „Galina Rymbu, ‘Moia vagina’, June 2020“. The lecture will be held in English and will be streamed live via Zoom. Please register by e-mail with our coordinator Katja Baharova (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than November 24, 2020, to receive the access data.
Galina Rymbu, “Moia vagina”, June 2020
On 27 June 2020, the prominent feminist poet Galina Rymbu published the poem ‘Moia vagina’ (‘My Vagina’) on her Facebook feed. ‘Moia vagina’ is solidarity poem, written in support of artist and LGBT activist Yulia Tsvetkova, who is facing a charge of distributing pornography for her abstract paintings of vaginas in a group on the social media platform. Rymbu’s poem created huge resonance: it was shared, translated and republished on various platforms on the web and in print, examined by researchers, and debated as both a work of literature and a political statement. This lecture will chart the story of this remarkable poem, from its origins to its formal properties, its place within contemporary feminist poetry and its close links to feminist activism, and the reactions it triggered. It also analyses the follow-up poem Rymbu wrote in reply to her detractors, ‘Velikaia russkaia literatura’ (‘Great Russian Literature’), with a focus on Rymbu’s ingenious play on personal pronouns. Finally, it will briefly look at the role of social media for the literary process in Russia, specifically the field of poetry.
Josephine von Zitzewitz has held research and teaching positions at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol. At present she is Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow in Russian Literature at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, Norway, where she is pursuing a project on contemporary Russian poetry and the internet. She is the author of Poetry and the Leningrad Religious-Philosophical Seminar 1974 – 1980: Music for a Deaf Age (Oxford: Legenda/MHRA and Routledge, 2016) and Samizdat: Literature and Underground Networks in the Late Soviet Union (London: Bloomsbury, 2020).