Today in our poetry news round up, we take a look at Lev Rubenstein, who has died aged 76, the Pashto poet whose mausoleum has been closed and the poet in residence for a nature reserve.
Russian Poet, Lev Rubenstein, Dies Aged 76
Lev Rubenstein, the Putin critic and Russian Poet who was a key figure within the Soviet underground literary scene, has died as a result of the injuries that he sustained in a car crash earlier this month.
Rubenstein, who as 76, was hit by a car on 8th January and had been un a coma before he succumbed to his injuries. The incident has been described by Moscow Police as a hit and run. Their preliminary information indicate that the driver involved in the crash had been involved in a staggering 19 traffic violations over the course of the last 12 months.
He was well known as one of the co-founders of the conceptualist movement, which used art in a number of forms during the 1970s and 1980s to subvert the more traditional norms of that era of Soviet history. It also critiqued the official doctrine that pertained to socialist realism, the concept that used art to push political agenda.
The Memorial human rights organisation, one of the oldest civil rights groups in Russia referred to Rubenstein as “shakily poetic, astute and ironic”. The group was forced to close in December 2021 when the Russian efforts in the war in Ukraine intensified. The group, who said that Rubenstein had been a close friend, mentioned that he had taken a strong offensive against the military offensive and also the attitude of the Russian government in the face of LGBT rights. Despite all of this, the poet had chosen to remain in Moscow for the last two years.
Pashto Poets Mausoleum Becomes Security Post
As the date of the 30th death anniversary of the Sufi poet Ameer Hamza Shinwari, often referred to as Hamza Baba, approaches on 18th February, his disciples have discovered that entry to the mausoleum has been largely restricted.
Security forces have been deployed to the location of the tomb of the father of the Pashto ghazal in Landi Kotal. The main door has been closed and the officials who are on site have stated that they are likely to be there for a month as they provide security to the nearby transit camp that has been established for those Afghan nationals who are enroute to return to their homeland.
The literary community are demanding that the security troops are relocated in advance of the anniversary, although the officials have stated that they will not be restricting access to the site but will require identification and to know the purpose of the visit.
Nature Reserve Gets Poet in Residence
A nature reserve in Northumberland has appointed its first ever Poet in Residence. In an unusual move Hauxley Discovery Centre has appointed a Paul Mein as their poet in Residence, a position which they hope will inspire a deeper understanding of the natural world through the medium of literature and poetry.
Mein, who has been living in Northumberland since 2018, focuses much of his work on the topic of landscapes.