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Molly T. Blasing
University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, KY 40506-0004)
The Influence of Photography on Modern Russian Poetry

Completion of a book-length study on the influence of photography on modern Russian poetry.

This book considers how photography’s pervasiveness in 20th-c. culture has intervened in and shaped modern poetic thinking and writing. While much has been written on the impact of photography on realist fiction and autobiography, this project’s explicit focus on poetry illuminates a form of cultural production that speaks to both long-standing and present-day anxieties about the threat visual culture poses to verbal culture. I offer case studies of five major 20th-c. Russian poets to argue that poets who engage photography in their writing are drawn to certain affinities and tensions that exist between the lyric and the snapshot. The advent of photography gave poetry a new lexicon, new ways of conceiving vision, memory and loss, and opportunities to construct metaphors around photochemical processes. Yet at the core of each poet’s approach to “writing the photograph” is an urge to ultimately demonstrate the superior ability of poetic language to capture and convey human experience.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; Interdisciplinary Studies, General; Russian Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2017 – 7/31/2017