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Alexei Parshchikov

Alexei Parshchikov was born in the small town of Olga, on Russia’s Pacific coast, on 24 May 1954. He went to school in Donetsk, in what is now south-eastern Ukraine. After two years at the Kiev Agricultural Academy, he moved to Moscow, where he enrolled at the Gorky Literary Institute. He graduated from the Institute in 1981.

From 1980 Parshchikov attended Kirill Kovaldzhi’s famous seminar, which was held under the auspices of Yunost (‘Youth’) literary magazine. That was where he met and befriended such important figures of late 20th century Russian poetry as Nina Iskrenko, Yuri Arabov, Evgeny Bunimovich, Aleksandr Yeremenko, Ivan Zhdanov, Aleksandr Samartsev and Mark Shatunovsky.

Parshchikov’s first publication (the poem ‘New Year verses’) came out in print in 1984. He soon came to be recognised as the foremost representative of the literary movement known variously as ‘metametaphorism’ (the word coined by Konstantin Kedrov) or ‘metarealism’ (Mikhail Epstein’s term). In 1986, Alexei Parshchikov was awarded the Andrey Bely prize – Russia’s oldest independent literary prize – for the long poem ‘I lived at the site of the Poltava battle’.

In 1990, Parshchikov moved to the United States, where he enrolled at Stanford University’s Slavic graduate program. He received an MA in Slavic Studies in 1993 (the title of his thesis was ‘Dmitry Alexandrovich Prigov’s Poetry in Russian Conceptualism’). That was also the year when he moved from San Francisco to Basle (Switzerland). In 1994, Avec Press published his first book in English (Blue Vitriol, tr. John High, Michael Molnar, Michael Palmer, intr. by Marjorie Perloff). From 1995, Parshchikov lived in Germany.

Alexei Parshchikov took part in numerous poetry festivals (Glasgow, New York, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Stockholm) as well as literary–artistic projects (The Russian Avant-Garde, University of Southern California, LA, CA, 1990; Semiotic Circle of California, Eighth Meeting, University of California, Berkeley, 1993; Vyborg, a project by Finnish-American visual artist Liisa Roberts, 2001; a project with ARTTRA, A Poem A Day (APAD), Amsterdam, 2001, etc.) His poems have been translated into fifteen languages. Parshchikov himself translated poetry from English (John High, Michael Palmer, Ted Hughes, Evgeny Ostashevsky), Yiddish (Lev Berinsky), German (Hendrik Jackson), Uzbek, Byelorussian, Ukrainian, Finnish and Japanese.

Alexei Parshchikov died in Cologne, Germany, on 3 April 2009.