Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for an in-store event with a showcase of poets, translators, and artists from four new books that consider what it means to be Ukrainian during unthinkable times.
Ukraine may be the only country on earth that owes its existence, at least in part, to a poet. Ever since the appearance of Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar in 1840, poetry has played an outsized role in Ukrainian culture. In the Hour of War: Poetry from Ukraine begins: “Letters of the alphabet go to war” and ends with “I am writing/ and all my people are writing,” note the editors Carolyn Forché and Ilya Kaminsky. “It includes poets whose work is known to thousands of people, who are translated into dozens of languages, as well as those who are relatively unknown in the West.”
These poems offer a startling look at the way language both affects and reflects the realities of war and extremity. The volume is sure to become the classic text marking not only one of the darkest periods in Ukrainian history, but also a significant moment in the universal struggle for democracy and human rights.
“In the morning, rockets outside the windows/ instead of birds,’ writes Lyudmyla Khersonska in Today is a Different War, her striking portrayal of life from inside war-torn Ukraine. Her images will sear themselves in your memory: “Buried in a human neck, a bullet looks like an eye, sewn in….” The voices assembled here veer from the frightened and disoriented: “I don’t know how to live now./ where, in what direction, for example/ you and I don’t have a bomb shelter, not even a basement,” to the combustible and combative: “Russian invader…./ Fear female revenge and female conspiracy,/ Fear Ukrainian girls, Molotov cocktails in hand….”
Proceeds from Hanna Melnyczuk’s book will go towards Humanitarian efforts in Ukriane. Don’t Close Your Eyes: The War Drawings https://www.arrowsmithpress.com/books#/hanna-melnyczuk/