Color photograph of Valzhyna Mort standing at an eating counter inside a Belarusian delicatessan

Valzhyna Mort

Rome Prize in Literature
February 14–July 22, 2022
Associate Professor, Department of English, Cornell University
Project title
A Girl from Pravda Avenue
Project description

A Girl from Pravda Avenue is a hybrid book of poetry and prose that explores what it means to be a Belarusian in Europe and a Belarusian-American in the world: a constant negotiation of invisibility and visibility, power and powerlessness. How does a poet come to her own voice after coming of age in a budding dictatorship? How does negative inheritance shape the way a Belarusian poet marks her place in the world? What rituals of coping with postgenerational trauma does she create in a world where that trauma bears no weight? A Girl from Pravda Avenue draws on the restorative techniques in architecture and musical form, while staying rooted in the ancient tradition of Belarusian textiles with its unique language of images, repetitions, and spell power.

The photograph of Valzhyna Mort was taken by Tanya Kapitonava.