Valzhyna Mort

(c) Tanya Kapitonava

Valzhyna Mort was born in Minsk in 1981 and has lived in the USA since 2005. She writes in Belarusian and English. Both her own poems and her translations have received many awards. Her Selected volume, “Factory of Tears” (Copper Canyon Press, 2008) was the first Belarusian-English dual-language book ever. Her new volume, “Music for the Dead and Resurrected”, is shortlisted for the prestigious Griffin Prize 2021. Early on, Mort was published in Germany by Suhrkamp Verlag, where “Music for the Dead and Resurrected” appeared in summer 2021. In these letters to the dead, the poet examines the history of her family and at the same time of her country. How is it still possible to mourn after a century full of propaganda? Can poetry turn individual suffering into something public? The great Polish poet Adam Zagajewski has written about Mort: “These poems are not just moving, but perform the most elementary work of human language. They experience wretchedness, barbarism and unfeelingness at the level of a universal idiom of wisdom and grace.”

Music for the Dead and Resurrected. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.
Collected Body. Copper Canyon Press, 2011.
Factory of Tears. Copper Canyon Press, 2008.

Awards (selection):
2010: Bess Hokin Prize of Poetry Magazine
2009: Residential Fellowship of the Literaturhaus Graz
2008: Hubert Burda Prize for young Eastern European poetry
2006: Residential Fellowship in the guesthouse of the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin
2005: Gaude-Polonia Residential Fellowship
2004: Prize of the Kristal Vilenica International Literature Festival in Slovenia

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