Announcing – Reported Speech by Pavel Arseniev

Reported Speecha bi-lingual edition of Pavel Arseniev’s (Saint Petersburg) poetry with an introduction by Kevin M.F. Platt (University of Pennsylvania) will be released this fall.  Pre-order here:

  • About the Book

Arseniev’s poetry provides a living link between the legacy of the 1920s Soviet avant-garde art­ and theory, on the one hand, and the modern Western materialist thought on the other. It traces how these influences become weaponized in the language of contemporary Russian protest culture. Arseniev readily politicizes all, even the most mundane facts of the poet’s life, while approaching reified bits of found speech and propaganda with lithe, at times corrosive irony and lyricism.

  • Praise for Reported Speech:

Kirill Medvedev, the author of It’s No Good:

One hundred years after October revolution, LEF (Left Front of the Arts), and Russian Formalism, Pavel Arseniev brings into Russian poetry the militant excitement of subversive materialist exploration and canny activist protest. The unique results of this poetic event will, without a doubt, be exceptionally interesting and useful to an American reader.

Stephanie Sandler, Harvard University: 

Pavel Arseniev charts the “emergence of unexpected forms of collective life,” as one poem has it. He tells the stories of how poems are created and performed, and he assembles poems out of found bits of language so that an inevitable political charge races through familiar words. These vivid translations show contemporary Russian poetry at one of its high points, where language laughs at its own seriousness but opens the way for astute cultural insights and a bracing evocation of life lived out loud.

Charles Bernstein, University of Pennsylvania:

The truths of Russian administered reality were long ago stripped bare, so that now the poet’s work is to invent a new line of camouflage. Warning: Pavel Arseniev is a defector with only his disguises to divulge. Perhaps this as close as we can come, in this moment, to alchemy. Or is it allegory? Warning: this is poetry that makes Russia great again. Arseniev is taking a bullet for poetry but, at the same time, he is asking – will poetry take a bullet for you? Warning: any complete picture – lies. Then one day dyr bul schylReported Speech turns the stink of the real into a stinging aesthetic coup de grace. I’m defecting to that.



Announcing – Barricade: A Journal of Antifascism & Translation

Barricade: A Journal of Antifascism & Translation

Cicada Press is excited to announce the upcoming release of the first volume of Barricade: A Journal of Antifascism & Translation.  On sale May 12th, 2018, look out for a release party at Verso Books with details TBA.  Published in collaboration with the NYU Department of Comparative Literature.

Barricade: A Journal of Antifascism & Translation is a new, biannual print and open-access periodical dedicated to publishing translations of linguistically and temporally diverse works of antifascist and antiauthoritarian literature, including but not limited to short stories, poetry, theater, nonfiction, philosophical/theoretical writing, and excerpts of longer works.

Barricade is a platform for the publication of writing against fascism and authoritarianism and other forms of domination and control.

We believe that power functions in part by controlling the movement of information.

We seek to keep information moving by re-presenting it in translation.

We believe that power functions in part by establishing the illusion of transparency.

We believe that literature and its translation obstruct that illusion.

Barricade seeks translations of literary and theoretical writing against the unequivocality of power, in its many historically, politically, linguistically specific forms.

A barricade is a makeshift form of opposition.

A barricade shows its seams and outlines.

Barricade is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or their institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.

Praise for Barricade:

“Born of the onrush of le grand mal (seizure) in the wake of the U.S. elections of 2016, Barricade is a journal of political resistance to authoritarianism in its myriad contemporary guises, built up, as the editors proclaim, from “disassembled hopelessness and reconstituted rage.” A journal that mobilizes translation as political praxis — entangling far-flung worlds of literature, aesthetics, and protest — Barricade sounds off against the downer thrum, producing a cacophony of liberating voice offs.”

— Emily Apter, author of Unexceptional Politics: On Obstruction, Impasse and the Impolitic  

Barricade makes an essential contribution toward transcending national and linguistic barriers in the pursuit of a true anti-fascist and anti-authoritarian internationalism.”

— Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Anti-fascist Handbook and Translating Anarchy

“Those wishing to begin to think about literature’s relationship to anti-fascism could do no better than Barricade. This is an unusually international collection of works in translation from Jordan, Germany, Spain, Haiti, Japan, Czechoslovakia, and France that in some way engage in opposition to fascism. It is a crucial collection because there are scant examples of explicitly anti-fascist works in American literature and yet here we are in a moment where fascism is more visible, less afraid in the US.”

— Juliana Spahr, poet, editor of Commune Editions


Yevgeniy Fiks and Soviet Moscow’s Yiddish-Gay Dictionary on Hyperallergic!

Yevgeniy Fiks and Galina Zelenina in conversation about his exhibition and the book on Hyperallergic!

An Artist Investigates the Divide Between Russian Jews and Russian Gays


Soviet Moscow’s Yiddish-Gay Dictionary – Yevgeniy Fiks

Soviet Moscow's Yiddish-Gay Dictionary by Yevgeniy Fiks_yevgeniyfiks_cicadapress_coverYevgeniy Fiks’ artist’s edition “Soviet Moscow’s Yiddish-Gay Dictionary” just arrived from the printer.  It will go on sale tonight as part of Yevgeniy’s exhibition Pleshka-Birobidzhan at Station Independent Projects.

Order here:

Pleshka-Birobidzhan - Yevgeniy FiksYevgeniy Fiks from the books introduction:

This book attempts to draw connections, at times contradictory and counterintuitive, between two marginal communities in Soviet-era Moscow – Jews and gays – in order to reflect on the (dis)similarities of their oppression, identity, self-irony, and practices (or hypothetical practices) of solidarity. This imagined dictionary for Soviet Jewish-Soviet Gay communication is a project that resists oversimplification, forced universality, and the erasure of difference when it comes to the Soviet experience and the Soviet subject.


This book is an artist’s project and not an academic study. I am not a linguist and although I am personally part of both the gay and Jewish communities of Moscow, my “Moskvish” and my “Tematicheskiy” are far from fluent. My work here is a combination of research, translation, transliteration, and fiction. It is a personal gesture and I own and embrace my grammar mistakes and mistranslations as organic to the construction, and lived experience, of my own identity.

I am not seeking equivalencies between these two unique and historically different communities on the margins of Soviet society. What is important is not to equate Soviet Gay and Soviet Jewish culture, language, and experience, but to see them in relation to one another. If the goal of a dictionary is to facilitate understanding between speakers of different languages, then the goal of this particular dictionary is solidarity.

This edition will go up for sale online at the conclusion of the gallery exhibition.


Collaboration with artist Yevgeniy Fiks

Yevgeniy Fiks Cicada CollabWe’re currently collaborating with artist Yevgeniy Fiks on an artist’s edition for his upcoming November show “Pleshka-Birobidzhan” at Station Independent Projects. The work takes the form of a phrasebook/dictionary mapping the (un)likely intersection of Soviet Gay slang and Soviet Yiddish. Stay tuned for info about the book as well as on the exhibition.


Ultraleft R&B and Velvet Crooning in an Egalitarian Key: Roman Osminkin Book Launch

Not A Word About Politics by Roman Osminkin - Published by Cicada PressWe’re excited to announce the upcoming release of Roman Osminkin’s first English language collection of poems and songs entitled “Not A Word About Politics!”

This edition is a truly collaborative endeavor between artists, writers, and translators spanning East to West.  Accordingly, the edition is double facing with both Russian originals and their English translations.

The New York release is scheduled for April 7th, where Roman will be performing and reading from the book at The Sunview Luncheonette.  Expect music, ultra-left R&B, and velvet crooning in an egalitarian key.

Roman Osminkin - People of Labor


Barbarian in the Green Room: Politics and Aesthetics in the Age of Surkov

Barbarian In The Greenroom: Politics and Aesthetics in the Age of Surkov
PDF Download

Cicada Press editors Matthew Whitley and Anastasiya Osipova recently created a micropublication and risograph series of prints for the show “Vertical Reach: Political Protest and the Militant Aesthetic Now,” hosted by Artspace in New Haven.  The edition, entitled “A Barbarian in the Greenroom: Politics and Aesthetics in the Age of Surkov,” consists of 2 large installation prints, along with 12 packaged prints and accompanying texts, as a sort of bestiary of contemporary political concepts, tactics and strategies. All can be loosely tied to Kremlin ideologue and strategist Vladislav Surkov, who is taken as the publication’s skeletal core and anti-hero.

From the introductory text:

I fear that we’ve chosen too soft of a target by focusing on this man.  The baby fat clings to his cheeks.  His face is overripe.  He is a low-hanging fruit, a perfect cliché of a postmodern puppet master, a caricature that arrived to Russia with a ten-year delay and was embraced with full provincial abandon. In truth, we find nothing spectacular about his character and could not care less about his moral qualms, his guilt and the ironic self-consciousness that he parades in his poems and novels (the man is a sentimental bastard). But we hope to make use of his skeleton.  If Surkov were to be transposed to a fashion runway you would say that he has a perfect model’s body, anything you dress him with hangs beautifully and he doesn’t distract from the clothes.  And when speaking of the convergence of politics and aesthetics Surkov is an ideal dress form.

He has been, at different times: a Chechen child named Aslambek Dudaev, a student of theater direction, a body guard, an advertising expert, a public relations chief, a TV director, a novelist, a lyricist, an apparatchik, and a chief Kremlin advisor.  An aspiring hipster that gained a position of power from which to translate his adolescent fascination with Borges into reality show politics, he has come to be known as Putin’s “Grey Cardinal.”

We readily recognize him in Vavilen Tatarskiy, the protagonist of Vladimir Pelevin’s Generation P, who makes a breathtaking ascent from the dredges of the literary and esoterically-minded (and, of course, very hungry) intelligentsia, to the rarified elevations of media power, run by a secret cabal all too aware of their own doom.  Between Pelevin’s and his own writings (published under the pseudonym of Natan Dubovitsky), Surkov the man disappears, leaving in his place only a living hero by “a dead author,” a figure of literature/art turned politics, without any claims for truth or essentiality.  A knock-off boy band effigy.

In the midst of this rhetorical free jazz, all the machinery that manufactures and stylizes politics is laid bare and is paraded without false modesty.  A tapestry cut from a swathe of dazzle camouflage fabric – all the deception effective despite being displayed glaringly in the open.

It is this that we find pleasurable, even instructive.  The mechanisms of self-aesthecization, the ability to wear many faces to amplify the struggle, the construction and deconstruction of heroes, the capacity to string up new sub cultures by fishing line and a vulgar graphic.  In the States, with the collapse of the tribally organized anti-globe movement, we have presently neither the earnestness for ideological struggle nor the romanticism needed for noble suffering.  In contemporary Russia, Eduard Limonov, leader of the banned National Bolshevik party, has said, “there is no longer left and right, but the system and those who are against the system.”  Limonov speaks with stupidity, but a desperate stupidity stated with a force equal to the ethereal repression that we face.  Because we cannot locate the nodes of power, we attack on every front, and represent everything low and reviled.  So begins the war of symbols.

A selection from the writing on the concept of “nonlinear warfare:”

A war whose command and control center is the end suite of a freshly cleaned Motel Six.  Non-linear war is the conflict of the traveling salesman, the master of liminal space.  Here he is at border control, that familiar scene where you stand under the nervous fluorescence and thumb your passport, trying to recall whether you are or are not a criminal, a saboteur.  Customs reassures him without sentiment.  They tell him that it turns out he is, in fact, a plumber.  Relieved, he passes through and politely contacts his sleeper cell from the airport terminal.  Subject line: HARDER & STRONGER – KEYSTONE PIPELINE OF VIAGRA ++, BEST ONLINE PHARMS!

We are making sample scans of the publication freely available for download: here, or by clicking on the title image above.  Paper copies, prints, and a properly color corrected high resolution digital edition will be made available at the conclusion of the exhibition.



Vertical Reach: Political Protest and the Militant Aesthetic Now

A Barbarian In The Green Room: Matthew Whitley & Anastasiya OsipovaCicada Press editors Matthew Whitley and Anastasiya Osipova will be taking part in the exhibition Vertical Reach: Political Protest and the Militant Aesthetic Now at Artspace (New Haven).  As a part of the exhibition they (in fact we) will be producing a limited run of works on paper, ultimately to be bound and distributed as an artists book, on the topic of Politics in the Age of Surkov.

The exhibition will begin February 20th, and culminate on April 19th with poetry readings and our own multimedia lecture.  A number of friends and artists that we respect immensely will be participating, including Nikita Kadan, Gregory Sholette, Pavel Arsenev, Chto Delat? and more.

Come out to New Haven if you have the opportunity.


Attila Kotányi – SOS: Lift Our Souls

We’re excited to announce that, despite an apparent lull, we have several books in the works for 2015.  The first of which is likely to be a short collection of late Attila Kotányi, (Hungarian philosopher, poet and former Situationist International member) articles and speeches, accompanied by commentary by and conversation with Christophe Kotányi and Harout Simonian.

Attila continued to write, teach and work well past his break with the S.I.  He passed away in 2003.

All thanks go to his son Christophe Kotányi and Harout Simonian for organizing and editing the project.

Attila Kotanyi


Through Maidan and Beyond

Through Maidan Vienna

Through Maidan and Beyond is opening next week, November 17, at 1 Museumplatz in Vienna.  The exhibition will feature our publication “Circling the Square” along with a number of its contributors.

Images of work and the catalogue to come!