GLORIOUS: Digital Poetry in Today’s Russia

GLORIOUS investigates two related phenomena: Russian Poetry on the Web and Russian Poetry in Translation

Russian Poetry on the Web

Internet literature – “seteratura” (set’= web and literatura= literature) – has been the most significant literary phenomenon in Russia during the past 15 years. “Seteratura” thrives because, historically, the Russian literary scene features far fewer small presses than e.g. the UK and the USA. Moreover, Russia has no strong copyright culture, and web publication is not considered inferior or an impediment to print publication. The “seteratura” boom takes place on various platforms: online journals that function much like print journals, with editorial committees and submission procedures; specialist repository sites such as Novaia literaturnaia karta Rossii (, which features authors, journals and other literary projects, and individual authors’ channels on social media such as VKontakte, Facebook and YouTube.

The medium of the internet, especially social media, has a major impact on the mechanisms of publication as well as on the texts themselves, making possible genre hybrids where the text is supplemented with, or exclusively represented by, elements of performance, music and visual art. The presentation of such poems is semantically charged; they cannot be simply read aloud or conveyed outside the internet, thus challenging our very definition of poetry.  

Russian Poetry in Translation

Translation of Russian poetry is a very vibrant field. Although theoretical issues of translation remain topical, little has been done to recognise how theory and practice fertilise each other. Anglophone academia neglects translation practice; scholars do not receive enough credit for their translations; translation is underrated as an (impact-generating!) result of research. Some recent efforts, e.g. Cambridge University’s Conversations in Translation series and Bangor University’s AHRC-sponsored Poetry in Expanded Translation Network, indicate that change is slowly underway and this is an opportune moment to embark on more specific research that targets Russian-language poetry on the internet.


GLORIOUS advances knowledge about Russian internet poetry and promotes translation by

  • studying the online presence of poets who use the internet, and social media, in different ways. “Pop star poets” (e.g. Akh Astakhova) publish carefully staged content geared towards a mass audience, poets who are visible activists (e.g. Galina Rymbu) create lively debate on social media, while traditional lyric poets (e.g. Ksenia Zheludova) use the internet as an alternative to print publishing. The emphasis here is on audience curation.
  • analysing the role of online journals and other platforms exercising editorial control on the contemporary poetry scene. The emphasis of this research is on author recruitment: which authors are represented widely, do these authors have a large presence on social media, and how do platforms like Polutona or Vozdukh reflect and create trends?
  • examining how the semantic charge of a poem's online presentation – video, music, visuals – affects the process of translation, and of publication in translation.
  • collaborating with other translators, especially translators who are also scholars, to create new publications, e.g. contemporary-Russia features for translation journals, highlighting translation as an integral part of the academe’s contribution to cultural diversity and understanding. 

Financial/grant information:

This project is funded by the European Union's Horizon2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement #840119