The 4th Annual Compass Award Ceremony and Cardinal Points Journal Vol 4 Launch

presented by StoSvet Literary Project, MadHat Press and Russian-American Cultural Center

Event Venue:

POETS HOUSE (Elizabeth Kray Hall)
10 River Terrace
New York, NY 10282

Event Date:

Saturday, January 17, 2015 | 4 PM

StoSvet Literary Project, MadHat Press and Russian-American Cultural Center present: The 4TH ANNUAL COMPASS AWARD CEREMONY and the Launch of Volume 4 of the Cardinal Points Journal

The evening is dedicated to the memory of George Kline (1921-2014) and Nina Cassian (1924-2014).

Hosted by Alexander Veytsman, Irina Mashinski, Alex Cigale and Regina Khidekel

The 4h Annual Compass Award Program: Tarkovsky, Kline, Cassian, and the Spiritual Value of Translation


By Larissa Shmailo


Now in its fourth year, The Compass Award for best translation of a Russian poet has quickly become one of the most prestigious awards in translation. Under the auspices of the noted journal Stosvet/Cardinal Points (co-published by MadHat) and with a distinguished panel of judges and supporting institutions, the Compass competition invites and receives sparkling English-language translations of Russian poetry from around the world. Competitions have focused on well-known poets such as Marina Tsvetaeva, and others less known in the United States, such as Nikolai Gumilyov, husband of the renowned Anna Akhmatova, who met his untimely death at the end of a Cheka firing squad in 1921; Maria Petrovykh, beloved of the great Osip Mandelstam; and Arseny Tarkovsky, friend and fellow student of Petrovych’s and son of the famous filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.


This year’s Compass Award and launch of Issue 4 of Cardinal Points, celebrated at Poets House (New York), was dedicated to the translation of poems by Tarkovsky, whose earthy and spiritual verse is popular in Russia but little known among English readers. Although he began writing in the 1920s, Tarkovsky’s first collection, Before the Snow, did not appear until 1962, when it was praised by Akhmatova as “an unexpected and precious present to the reader.” Critics consider Tarkovsky an essential bridge between the Russian Silver Age (from the late 19th to early 20th century) and the post-Stalin Thaw under Nikita Khrushchev. (Unlike Gumilyov, Tarkovsky managed to escape execution for penning an acrostic poem about Lenin in 1921).


Mastering Tarkovsky’s rhythmic and mesmerizing verse were this year’s winners, Laurence Bogoslaw (United States), who took first prize, nonagenarian Nora Krouk (Australia), who took second place and was an honorable mention winner in the Petrovych competition, and Igor Mazin (United States), who took third place, as well as Misha Semenov and Eugene Serebryany (both United States) who became  honorable mention recipients. The award ceremony also included a reading by celebrated Russian, American, and international poets and translators. Introduced by National Endowment Translation Award winner Alex Cigale, the poets and translators included Cigale, Polina Barskova, Sibelan Forrester, myself, and Alexander Veytsman, Compass Director.


The reading also honored the departed literary giants, poet, translator, journalist, and film critic Nina Cassian, and scholar, translator and Compass judge George Kline, who is considered responsible for bringing Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky to the attention of the English-speaking world. Cassian’s life and contributions to international letters were honored by a talk and reading of her work by her husband Maurice Edward. It was my honor to speak about George Kline, with whom I had the privilege of corresponding at the end of his life. Despite his continued dedication at the age of 93 to the translation of Brodsky’s work, Kline took the time to review my translation of Alexander Pushkin’s “Ia vas liubil” (“I loved you once”) and to school me on Russian prosody. In his final e-mail to me, he wrote of the spiritual value (dukhovnaia tsennost’) of a poem’s meter for the translator, a value honored by the Compass Award ceremony on this unforgettable afternoon.

The evening was hosted by poet Irina Mashinski, the StoSvet/Cardinal Points editor-in-chief, Alexander Veytsman, the Compass Award Director, and Regina Khidekel, the director of the Russian American Cultural Center. It was co-sponsored by the Russian-American Cultural Center, the Cardinal Points Journal, and Cardinal Points’  co-publisher MadHat Press.


Information: | Websites: |

 on Facebook:  Compass Translation Award: Russian Poetry in English

Stanford Universuty | Book Haven Slavic scholar and translator George Kline (1921-2014): memorial reading in NYC on Saturday


Part I. The Compass Translation Award Ceremony and Reading.
The winners of the 4th Competition: Laurence Bogoslaw (Minnesota, Ist Prize); Igor Mazin (Virginia, 3rd Prize); Eugene Serebryany (Cambridge, MA) and Misha Semenov Princeton, NJ) - honorable mention, shared.

Prizes  and certificates are awarded by Alexander Veytsman, the Compass Award Director, and Regina Khidekel, the Director of the Russian-American Cultural Center.

Part II. The Cardinal Points Journal Vol 4 Launch

1) In Memoriam: George Kline and Nina Cassian, both esteemed Cardinal Points friends and authors  (presented by Maurice Edwards, Irina Mashinski,  Alexander Veytsman, and Larissa Shmailo)

2) CP4 authors and  guest readers:

Polina Barskova
Alexander Cigale
Sibelan Forrester
Betsy Hulick
Slava Polishchuk

Larissa Shmailo
Alla Steinberg
Alexei Tsvetkov 
Alexander Veytsman

3) Q&A and discussion


First prize ("The Compass” and $300):
In autumn's final week's, on the decline… 
Winner: Laurence Bogoslaw (Minnesota)

Second prize ($150):
The Wind
Winner: Nora Krouk (Australia)

Third prize ($100):
Forgive me, Vincent. In the very end...
Winner: Igor Mazin (Virginia)

Honorable Mention (shared):
A Poet from Early This Century
Eugene Serebryany (Massachusetts)

Like Forty Years So Long Ago
Misha Semenov (New Jersey)

The 2015 Compass award competition is dedicated to poet Boris Slutsky. Please see details as they appear on the Cardinal Points / Compass Award website at and on Facebook at