Latest Posts

Latest Posts

Tidbits of Belarusian Language and Literature

Tidbits of Belarusian Language and Literature

I walk down to the metro but not to board a train. I’m going down to the cafe where I know they have great pastries. My wife and all four children are with me, and my wife has already figured out who speaks some English at this place. She knows how to order what we want, and I am happy to let her do it. After pointing and talking mostly in English with the kids and the woman behind the counter who knows some English, Beth prepares to pay and wait for the food. I’m carrying our youngest, little Jo, strapped onto me, and I move to the edge of the shop to keep from crowding the counter area. “Kids, … Continued
Ilya of Murom: A Legend of the Kievan Rus (draft!)

Ilya of Murom: A Legend of the Kievan Rus (draft!)

The Three Brogatyrs (Warrior-Knights) by Vikotr Vasnetsov, 1898   [In order: Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muramets, Alyosha Popovich] This week I bring you the rough draft of a narrative poem I wrote upon discovering a children’s illustrated version (in English) of a folk tale/legend of the Eastern Slavs and Russians. I picked up this book at the Pushkin Library here in Minsk — a place we will visit frequently in days to come! I compared the children’s story with some older versions of this folk tale/legend that I could find online and cobbled together my own version. For any of my Belarusian friends and colleagues, feel free to message me with suggestions for revision, particularly if there are important cultural elements … Continued
A Minsk Miscellany

A Minsk Miscellany

I have learned much during our life in Minsk during the past week. Here’s a partial list, in no particular order. 1.  Riding the metro is easy and cheap. Doors open on one side in one direction and the other side in the other direction. Kids ride free, and a ride is the equivalent of 30 cents or so. Announcements are in Russian/Belorussian with a few lines of English thrown in for good measure. “Please mind the closing doors.” “Next stop is ___ station.” 2.  Nice city parks are all around the city, especially along the Svislach River. If we cross the street at our apartments, pass under the bridge and cross the street again, we enter a park with … Continued
First Week in Belarus

First Week in Belarus

We have arrived in Minsk, settled into our apartment in yручча (Urucha, a district on the northeast side of the city), and started exploring the city. I’ll meet colleagues at Belarusian State University next week. We were met at the airport by Vadim, a Belorussian who works for the U.S. Embassy and speaks fluent English. Vadim helped us get to the hotel where we stayed until securing a place to live, get our rental squared away, navigate the bureaucracy of registering to be in the country legally, and learn a little about the transportation system and location of the spots where we will live and work. We would have been a bit lost at first without Vadim. He’s a great guy! … Continued
Fulbright in Belarus

Fulbright in Belarus

I will be leaving for Belarus with my family next weekend! I have received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. The Fulbright program is hosted by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The award is described on the Fulbright website as follows: “The Core Fulbright Scholar Program offers over 500 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in over 125 countries. Opportunities are available for college and university faculty and administrators as well as for professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, independent scholars and many others.” For more information, see http://www.cies.org/program/core-fulbright-us-scholar-program  Why Belarus, you say? They have an American Studies program that needs people like me. What will I be teaching? American Literature – the American Short Story, … Continued