LIBERTY PRIZE – 2003
Born in 1947 in Moscow, Lev Rubinstein worked as a librarian while he took part in the Russian literary underground, a job that at least partly inspired his use of the index card as poetic medium. Rubinstein's central importance to the Russian avant-garde, and his artistic affinities with international experimental poetry, make him an essential figure in both Russian and world poetry; that he has been translated into German, French, Swedish, Polish, and English indicates the already-existing regard for his achievements. Rubinstein's poetic texts, which were first published in the West in the 1970s, ten years earlier than in Russia, are written on a series of index cards, often mirroring or distorting the various discourses of language. His poetic work reads, in his words, 'at times like a realistic novel, at times like a dramatic play, at times like a lyric poem, etc., that is, it slides along the edges of genres and, like a small mirror, fleetingly reflects each of them, without identifying with any of them. This genre is, in essence, a hybrid, combining poetry, prose, drama, visual art, and performance.' Rubinstein's work naturally invites multi-media interpretations; these 'flash' renderings of his texts are but one rather successful permutation of his pliable work.
Irina Dmitrievna Prokhorova is the founder, editor and publisher of the journal New Literary Review and the publishing house of the same name. New Literary Review focuses on the theory and history of literature, literary criticism and bibliography.
Viktor Golyshev (born 1937) is a well known English-to-Russian translator. His translations include Light in August, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, All the King's Men, Theophilus North, 1984, Other Voices, Other Rooms, Set This House on Fire, Pulp, and others. He has won the Foreign Literature and Illuminator awards.