Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Frontier: 28 Contemporary Ukrainian Poets

The Frontier: 28 Contemporary Ukrainian Poets
ed. & trans. from the Ukrainian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky
London: Glagoslav, c2017.
416 p.

This collection is a great introduction to some of the newer names in Ukrainian poetry, as well as a couple of slightly more established ones. There is good mix of women and men, from different areas of the country. 

The poems here are fairly modernist in style - lots of short, free verse style works, focusing on current events, identity and personal experiences. There is obviously some war content, as it is a continual experience for Ukrainians. But there is also a focus on nature and the land, a big part of Ukrainian life and identity. 

I found it a quick read and not wholly satisfying, but then translating poetry is a tough job. I did appreciate discovering so many new-to-me poets, and I also find it fascinating that there is not the kind of division between poetry, prose and non-fiction that there is in the literary circles I'm familiar with -- many of these authors also write fiction, essays, and more alongside their poetry. 

It's a good find if you want to be introduced to new Ukrainian voices, and there are some intriguing pieces included. I wasn't bowled over by the poetics but I did enjoy it overall, with a couple of poems that I particularly liked. I think it's one I'll need to reread a little more slowly and go over the works with more focus to really let them sink in. I'm glad it's available! 

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