Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2017 - 7/31/2017

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

The Influence of Photography on Modern Russian Poetry

FAIN: FT-255121-17

Molly T. Blasing
University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, KY 40506-0004)

Completion of a book-length study on the influence of photography on modern Russian poetry.

This book considers how photography’s pervasiveness in 20th-c. culture has intervened in and shaped modern poetic thinking and writing. While much has been written on the impact of photography on realist fiction and autobiography, this project’s explicit focus on poetry illuminates a form of cultural production that speaks to both long-standing and present-day anxieties about the threat visual culture poses to verbal culture. I offer case studies of five major 20th-c. Russian poets to argue that poets who engage photography in their writing are drawn to certain affinities and tensions that exist between the lyric and the snapshot. The advent of photography gave poetry a new lexicon, new ways of conceiving vision, memory and loss, and opportunities to construct metaphors around photochemical processes. Yet at the core of each poet’s approach to “writing the photograph” is an urge to ultimately demonstrate the superior ability of poetic language to capture and convey human experience.

Media Coverage

Blasing Awarded NEH Summer Stipend (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Gail Hairston
Publication: UKNOW: University of Kentucky News
Date: 4/14/2017
Abstract: A short article on the university news website announcing that I received the NEH Summer Stipend.
URL: http://

Associated Products

Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Literature (Book)
Title: Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Literature
Author: Molly Thomasy Blasing
Abstract: Snapshots of the Soul considers how photography has shaped Russian poetry from the early twentieth century to the present day. Drawing on theories of the lyric and the elegy, the social history of technology, and little-known archival materials, Molly Thomasy Blasing offers close readings of poems by Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva, Joseph Brodsky, and Bella Akhmadulina, as well as by the late and post-Soviet poets Andrei Sen-Sen'kov, Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, and Kirill Medvedev, to understand their fascination with the visual language, representational power, and metaphorical possibilities offered by the camera and the photographic image.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Snapshots of the Soul listed on the website of Cornell University Press
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Snapshots of the Soul on
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781501753695
Copy sent to NEH?: No