Quick Study: Lev Oborin is a poet, critic, and essayist who also translates poetry from English and Polish.
The Oborin File: Lev Oborin made a name for himself as a poet by making the short list of the Debut Prize in 2004 and 2008. He has amassed a long list of credits in prestigious Russian “thick” journals, which regularly publish his original and translated poetry, criticism, and essays. He won an award from the journal Znamia in 2011 for a piece about Russian-Soviet writer Grigory Baklanov.
Psssst………: Oborin has also played guitar—and written lyrics, of course—for a band.
Oborin’s Places: Moscow area, born and raised. Moscow-educated at the Russian State University for the Humanities.
The Word on Oborin: When Oborin’s first poetry collection, Mauna Kea, was released in 2010, Anna Rumyantseva wrote positively about the book for Ex Libris, the literary supplement of Independent Newspaper, saying, “Oborin’s poems are highly varied, and at times it’s difficult to believe they all belong to one author—the questions raised and delivery methods are that diverse—and it’s very noticeable that this young author sees equal meaning and prospect in opposite approaches to questions about poetry’s purpose.”
Oborin on Oborin: When Oborin won his prize from Znamia in 2011, he thanked the journal, saying, “I work on various things: I write poetry, translate from English and Polish, am in graduate school, and work as an editor.” He continued, saying he hadn’t considered reviews and criticism as his main activity, then thanked the journal for forcing him to think about whether critical or literary-historical work might be something he’s good at. He also said, “And seeing the new issue of Znamia, where my article was published, I was happy about my neighbors: it’s nice to end up behind the same cover with people whose texts I love and value.”
On Writing: In an interview with other young Russian writers during the 2011 London Book Fair, Oborin said, “I began to write very early, was published as a child, appeared on television, and participated in various art-oriented schools. This did a lot for me in two ways: early on I met people who were also interested in literature and poetry, and I understood early on how varied literature could be. On the other hand, I saw what often happens with wunderkinds: breakdowns and frustration; not understanding why people aren’t interested in you when you grow up; not understanding that all this was, for the most part, an apprenticeship; and refusing to write.”
Photo credit: Andrei Cherkasov, via Vavilon.ru