The 2015 Compass Award competition was dedicated to the poetry of Boris Slutsky (1919-86). Together with David Samoylov and Alexander Mezhirov, Slutsky belongs to the WWII generation of Russian poets, whose anti-war poetic intensity was intertwined with the anti-Stalinist messaging. Though originally a devout Communist, Slutsky's philosophical and often cynical works were largely foreign to the prevailing traditions of socialist realism. His verse was often devoid of euphony and traditional poetic devices; some have classified it as prosaic, conversational, and even coarse. He was immensely influential; Slutsky's style and intonation left a significant mark on the poetry of Joseph Brodsky. Slutsky also often wrote on Jewish themes largely forbidden under late-Soviet rule, addressing the Holocaust and antisemitism, as well as translating Yiddish verse into Russian.
THE WINNERS OF THE 2015 COMPASS AWARD ARE:
Peter Oram (UK-Germany): "Poetic Proof"
Robin Kallsen (US): "Twentieth Century"
Robin Kallsen (US): "There is a God"
Lawrence Bogoslaw (US): "People Fall Into 2 Camps"
Among the shortlisted entries were also translations by Helen Hagon, UK (“Fortune is a Circle”) and Natalia Gavrilova, US (“I am building on the Sand.”) The texts of the winning entries will be published in the Cardinal Points Journal vol.6 (March 2016) and the “Storony sveta” literary annual (February 2017).
The Compass Award-2015 Ceremony and Reading will take place at Poets House in New York, on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at 1 PM.
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