Skip to main content

Yasha Klots

Former James H. Billington Fellow


December 1, 2020 — August 31, 2021

Professional affiliation

Assistant Professor of Russian, Hunter College (CUNY)


Russia & Eurasia 

Wilson Center Projects

“Tamizdat, the Cold War, and Contraband Russian Literature (1956-1991)”

Full Biography

Yasha Klots received his Ph.D. in Russian literature from Yale University in 2011 and M.A. from Boston College in 2005. Before joining Hunter College, CUNY, in 2016, he taught at Georgia Institute of Technology, Williams College and Yale. In 2014-2016, he was a Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Research Center for East European Studies at the University of Bremen, Germany. His research interests include Russian and East European émigré literature and book history, contemporary Russian poetry, linguistic anthropology, bilingualism and literary translation, Gulag narratives (in particular, Shalamov), urbanism, the mythology of St. Petersburg and representation of other cities in Russian literature. In 2010, he published Joseph Brodsky in Lithuania (St. Petersburg: Perlov Design Center; in Russian), and co-translated, with Ross Ufberg, Tamara Petkevich’s Memoir of a Gulag Actress (DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP). His most recent book is Poets in New York: On City, Language, Diaspora (Moscow: NLO, 2016; in Russian), which includes his introduction and annotated interviews with sixteen Russian and East European poets. He is currently completing a monograph Tamizdat, the Cold War and Contraband Russian Literature (1960-1970s) devoted to the circulation, reception and first publications of manuscripts from the Soviet Union in the West. He is also the director of Tamizdat Project, an online archive of documents on “contraband” Russian literature (1956-1991).

Major Publications

  • Yakov Klots. Poets in New York: On City, Language, Diaspora (Moscow: NLO, 2016; in Russian)
  • “Varlam Shalamov Between Tamizdat and the Soviet Writers’ Union (1966-1978),” Russian Literature 86-98C (2018), 137-166; (January 10, 2017):
  • “The Way Back. Kathryn Feuer’s and Gleb Struve’s Letters on Academic Exchange, Yulian Oksman and Crossing the Soviet-Finnish Border (June, 1963).” Publication, introduction and commentary by Yasha Klots. In Across Borders: 20th Century Russian Literature and Russian-Jewish Cultural Contacts. Essays in Honor of Vladimir Khazan. Ed. by Lazar Fleishman and Fedor Poljakov. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018. Pp. 557-584.