The world’s first major Belarusian-American poetry reading is taking place today, 18 March at 8pm GMT (4pm EST), and is available to stream online for free, without registration.
Organised by the Georgia Institute of Technology as part of the second edition of the Atlanta International Poetry and Translation Festival, five Belarusian poets and four American poets will read their own translations of each other’s poetry.
The Belarusian writers include bilingual poet Valzhyna Mort, author of the acclaimed 2020 English-language collection Music for the Dead and Resurrected, Minsk-based poet and architect Dmitry Strotsev, poet and translator Maryja Martysevič, poet and musician Uladzimir Liankievič, and Julia Cimafiejeva, author of Protest Diary, a book detailing daily life under Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. As well as reading their verse, the writers will also discuss the current political situation in Belarus. Strotsev and Liankievič were both detained and imprisoned during pro-democracy protests last year, which began across the country after Lukashenko won a sixth term in office in a vote marred by suspected ballot rigging.
Among the American poets, Vievee Francis, Hanif Abdurraqib, Travis Denton, and Mario Chard will be reading at the event.
Last year, the festival’s international event involved German and American poets.