Luke Jacob on Nikolai Vavilov, Soviet agronomist

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Date(s) - March 8, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


For this PSNH Reading Series Program we will be discussing Luke Jacob’s long poem “Vavilov at Saratov.” Here is a description from the introduction to the poem:

From late 1941 until January 1943, Nikolay Ivanovich Vavilov was held in one of Stalin’s gulag prisons, in Saratov, Russia. Vavilov was the greatest agricultural botanist in the Soviet Union, and perhaps in the world. He had developed theories about crop diversity that still dominate the field today, and had curated the ‘seed vault’ that became the model for all such subsequent collections dedicated to preserving the history and the future of the human race’s agricultural endeavors. Vavilov had fallen more and more out of favor with Stalin over the years, his place usurped by Trofim Lysenko, a rival botanist whose theories about plant heredity were attractive to the science-skeptical Party leadership, though Vavilov knew them to be fraudulent.


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