Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Where the Good Begins: A Study of the Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize

Fri31  Mar03:15pm(15 mins)
McIntyre Room 201


Yoonmin Kim1
1 Yale University, United States


Since the 2000s, the Internet has enabled nonlimited self-publication, increasing the number of newly produced poetic texts to an extent that compels the critic to rethink the underlying premises of their work. The unwieldy poetic mass hinders the thorough review and selection of good, worthy, representative works, creating a sense of anxiety among critics about what to read and how. Moreover, publication on this new media bypasses traditional ‘quality control.’ Consequently, the modes of poetic production, circulation, and readership formation are diversifying to a degree perhaps greater than ever, relativizing and transforming the very ideas of what counts as poetry and what doesn’t, and what is good poetry or bad poetry. As a case study of this phenomenon, I will examine the formulation of the boundaries of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ poetry around the Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize. The Dragomoshchenko prize targets young writers under the age of 28, whose careers and reputations are relatively less established. It is therefore an active site of evaluations and value judgments that this paper seeks to analyze. Drawing on Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory, I will follow different actors in Russophone poetry – poets, critics, institutions, and texts – that enter into dialogue with each other via the Dragomoshchenko prize and examine moments of contradiction that mark the trajectory of the ever-changing boundaries of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ poetry.