Thursday, February 02, 2006

American Journalist to Speak Monday in Kyiv

I've been silent lately because I've been so busy working on my novel -- finally, and such good progress of late too -- but I thought I'd drop in to advertise this, an event put on by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy. It is a talk on contemporary American poetry and literature (I'm hoping more of the latter than the former) by Christopher Merrill, a journalist, poet, writer, teacher (contemporary poetry, American Literature) and Director of the International Writer’s Program at the University of Iowa.

The details are:

Monday, February 6 from 4:00-5:30 PM at the English Teaching Resource Center Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Building # 3, Room # 121

To register, please contact ETRC by telephone (044) 238-6610 or email

Here's the abstract that caught my attention:

In despair and out of a longing to end his spiritual desolation, Merrill became one of a handful of visitors permitted entry to Mount Athos–a mysterious land that for more than a thousand years has been the secret heart of the Eastern Orthodox Church. There, amid the beautiful terrain, the ancient rhythms, and the spiritual rigor of this holy place, he found a haven in dramatic contrast to the rest of the world.

As Merrill’s story unfolds, we, too, hike the rough trails of Athos, exploring a place and a way of life scarcely altered since medieval times. We share encounters with monks, wolves, and spiritual seekers; visit Athos’s twenty monasteries, where exquisite art treasures are sequestered; make our way to lonely hermitages that clutch the cliffs above the sea. And like Merrill, we come to consider existence in a new and different light.

Part journal of personal discovery, part meditation upon the history and traditions of the contemplative life, Things of the Hidden God takes us where the temporal and the eternal intersect, where community and solitude coexist, and where centuries-old practices provide insight for how to live today.

CHRISTOPHER MERRILL’s books include four collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; translations; several edited volumes; and three books of nonfiction, The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer; The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee; and Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars.

A literary critic and journalist, his work has been translated into sixteen languages. He has held the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross, and now directs the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He and his wife, the violinist Lisa Gowdy-Merrill, have two daughters, Hannah and Abigail.


Veronica Khokhlova said...

Thanks for letting me know! I do remember a few people from the IWP back in 1996-98. Also, I think Victor Pelevin visited Iowa on this program, too. I'm in Kyiv (they don't have posters of Yulia in state-run kids' clinics in Moscow!..) and I'll try to make it, though with Marta I can't promise anything at all...


WittyName32 said...

Sometimes I need help: Of course, poster-Kyiv, now I get it.
As for Monday, you have a baby, and I may not have a ticket -- something came up, as they say. If I'm going, I may be able to say Sunday, otherwise I'm up in the air.