Katie Aberbach

Fusso Translates Gandlevsky’s Illegible

IllegibleSusanne Fusso, Marcus L. Taft Professor of Modern Languages, professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies, is the translator of the first English-language version of Sergey Gandlevsky’s novel Illegible, published by Northern Illinois University Press.

Gandlevsky (b. 1952) is widely recognized as one of the most important living Russian poets and prose writers, and has received numerous literary prizes. Illegible, published in 2002, is his only work of prose fiction to date.

The novel has a double time focus, with both the immediate experiences and retrospective meditations of Lev Krivorotov, a 20-year-old poet living in Moscow in the 1970s. As the work begins, Lev is involved in a tortured affair with an older woman and envious of his more privileged friend and fellow novice poet Nikita, one of the children of high Soviet functionaries who were known as “golden youth.” Both narratives see Lev recounting with regret and self-castigation the failure of a double infatuation-turned-love triangle. Illegible provides unparalleled access to the atmosphere of Moscow and the ethos of the late Soviet and post-Soviet era, while simultaneously demonstrating the universality of human emotion.

Illegible is the second work of Gandlevsky’s that Fusso has translated. In 2014, she published an English-language translation of his autobiographical novel, Trepanation of the Skull.

Derry and Puffin D’Oench ’73 Film Award Open to Submissions

Community Health Center logo

The Community Health Center of Middletown is a sponsor of the film contest.

A new annual contest for budding filmmakers is now welcoming submissions. The Derry and Puffin D’Oench Film Award, sponsored by Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), of Middletown, is open to Wesleyan University and Middlesex Community College students and alumni.

The contest’s name honors Derry and Ellen “Puffin” D’Oench ’73, community members who contributed to the local arts and cultural community. At Wesleyan, Puffin served as curator of the Davison Art Center, adjunct professor of art history, and a trustee. Russell “Derry” D’Oench was editor-in-chief of the Middletown Press from 1959 to 1991. The couple was involved in many organizations, including the Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex Hospital, Community Health Center, and the NAACP.

The film contest, accepting submissions from Nov. 1, 2019, until May 1, 2020, seeks “to find talented, emerging filmmakers who are getting their start or have roots in our Middletown community,” said Mark Masselli, Hon. ’09, P’16, CHC’s founder and president/CEO. “We’re looking forward to screening the submissions, and giving a new generation of filmmakers a launching pad.”

What’s the Buzz About Pollinators? Class Visits Local Apiary to Find Out

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Drew Burnett, kneeling, at right, gave Wesleyan students a tour of a local apiary, where they learned about the centrality of honeybees to our industrialized agricultural system. The students are pictured holding Drew’s Honeybees lip balm.

Students in a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems class recently stepped out of the classroom … and into beekeeping suits. The buzzworthy hands-on experience was part of a field trip to an apiary in Norwich, Conn.

“The course explores strategies to create a sustainable agriculture and food system,” said Rosemary Ostfeld ’10, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies, who teaches the class. Her students have already been gaining an understanding of some of the key environmental impacts associated with our agricultural system, and read Rachel Carson’s seminal Silent Spring. The purpose of the field trip on Sept. 18 “was to learn more about pollinators—specifically honeybees—and some of the reasons their populations have been declining in recent years,” Ostfeld said.

Hosting the students were beekeeper Drew Burnett and his assistant Curtis Witt. Burnett is the founder of Drew’s Honeybees, a honeybee-centric, all-natural, USDA organic skincare company. Drew’s Honeybees donates 20 percent of its profits to the State of Connecticut’s Agricultural Experiment Station to fund pioneering research into the causes of and solutions to Colony Collapse Disorder.