All posts tagged: Ukrainian

Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine

I ask
Half-awake
Is poetry possible
At the moment history stirs
Once its steps
Reverberate through every heart?

— From “Can there be poetry after” by Anastasia Afanasieva, translated by Kevin Vaughn and Maria Khotimsky

 

With the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, we at The Common have been reflecting on the powerful words of many Ukrainian poets who have appeared in our pages. In recent years their work has been rooted in conflict, as the country struggled first with self-determination and later with the Russian annexation of Crimea and, since 2014, with a Russian-incited war in the East. This focus lends a feeling of prescience and timeliness to their work now, even though most of these poems are not new. We hope you’ll make time to read and reflect on the work of these poets, as we all keep Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in our thoughts.

Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine
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On Halloween

By VASYL LOZYNSKY

Translated by the author and JESSICA ZYCHOWICZ

Hudson, NY

I feel greedy, I have a frog in my throat because of this
expensive beer. I start to ask around, like a detective,
and immediately get some info
from the writer sitting at our table nearby,
whom I got to know just now. 
The house of Ashbery has likely mahogany doors facing
the square, probably where city hall is.  
I don’t even think about visiting without letting 
someone know first. I stop and read a few poems in a bookshop.
You won’t repeat the jokes, I say,
you’ll go around to all the apartments on Halloween 
with pumpkins, like I used to do
in my childhood, but then the main thing was trick or treat, 
not to force someone for an interview or a photograph.

On Halloween
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September 2017 Poetry Feature

This month The Common brings you a selection from the anthology WORDS FOR WAR, NEW POEMS FROM UKRAINE, edited by Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky, forthcoming next month from Academic Studies Press.

The armed conflict in the east of Ukraine brought about an emergence of a distinctive trend in contemporary Ukrainian poetry: the poetry of war. Directly and indirectly, the poems collected in this volume engage with the events and experiences of war, reflecting on the themes of alienation, loss, dislocation, and disability; as well as justice, heroism, courage, resilience, generosity, and forgiveness. In addressing these themes, the poems also raise questions about art, politics, citizenship, and moral responsibility. The anthology brings together some of the most compelling poetic voices from different regions of Ukraine. Young and old, female and male, somber and ironic, tragic and playful, filled with extraordinary terror and ordinary human delights, the voices recreate the human sounds of war in its tragic complexity.

ANASTASIA AFANASIEVA  |  “Can there be poetry after:”

BORYS HUMENYUK  |  “Our platoon commander is a strange fellow”

ALEKSANDR KABANOV  |  “He came first wearing a t-shirt inscribed ‘Je suis Christ,’”

KATERYNA KALYTKO   |  “April 6”

LYUDMYLA KHERSONSKA  |  “When a country of — overall — nice people”

SERHIY ZHADAN  |  “Third Year into the War”

September 2017 Poetry Feature
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