Dmitry Sadovnikov's poem translated by Ulyanovsk poet Sergei Gogin will be presented in Nanjing and Slemani

The poem "To the Volga" will be presented at the World Book Day event in Nanjing (China) and the Modern International Multilingual Library Museum in Slemani (Iraq). Residents of the two UNESCO literary cities, as well as their guests, will be able to know the poem of the poet born in Simbirsk (the former name of Ulyanovsk) and its modern translations.


World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. Each year, on 23 April, celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the scope of books. 23 April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.

Nanjing UNESCO City of Literature is going to mark the World Book Day 2020 with a special reading event in the city’s iconic XuanWu Lake. Nanjing Literature Center invited authors from the UNESCO Cities of Literature to record videos for the “5-minute Reading Classics” event. 

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  XuanWu Lake, photo credit jinxin@bbs.seu.edu.cn

Simbirsk classics - Dmitry Sadovnikov's poem "To the Volga" - will be presented by Ulyanovsk poet and journalist Sergei Gogin, who translated the poem into English. Residents of Nanjingwill see a video recording of Sergei reading his poem in English and Russian. The video can already be viewed on the YouTube channel of the "Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature" programme.


The reading event is to be followed by Nanjingers and the much larger readership in Jiangsu province with a population of over 80 million. In this special period, they are all bibliophiles who have taken books as their best company. It will also be followed on social media, as well as local and national media channels.

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Dmitry Nikolaevich Sadovnikov (1847-1883) - Russian poet, folklorist and ethnographer, born in Simbirsk. Sadovnikov's poems, inspired by the legends of Stepan Razin, have become widely known folk songs "Из-за острова на стрежень" and "По посаду городскому".

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-The poem that I translated for you (with valuable advice from the poet David Howard from Dunedin) is curious in the way that it displays the humble position of the poet who is supposed to be the creator of his own verses but readily gives up his priority thus yielding it to the Volga river and the nature that surrounds it (or I should say - Her?) as the primary source. He addresses the Volga as if he would speak to a goddess, a deity who endows him with inspiration. He sort of relegates himself to the background highlighting the river as the owner and originator of his verses. "You created all of them", he says humbling himself into the position of a stenographer writing down the "songs" after the river which dictates them. This attitude falls into the theory of the poet being a conductor of divine revelations. You may agree or not, but, judging by this poem, Sadovnikov obviously felt he was that kind of conductor, - said Sergei Gogin.

Also, Dmitry Sadovnikov's poem, translated by Sergei Gogin, will be included in the permanent exhibition of the Modern International Multilingual Library Museum, which is now being created in the city of Slemani on the basis of the old hospital. The museum will display books from all 39 UNESCO literary cities as well as poems from each city in three languages: the original language, English and Kurdish.

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