Transreading Ukrainian poetry: ‘a crimson bush amidst silence’

Transreading Ukrainian poetry: ‘a crimson bush amidst silence’

Explore one of the world's greatest neglected literatures in Transreading Ukrainian poetry.

Ukraine is the largest country whose borders are entirely in Europe, but it remains oddly invisible on the international literary landscape. It was occupied by Russia for three hundred years and the language was frequently prohibited, Ukrainian books were burnt and a whole generation of authors, known as the Executed Renaissance was destroyed by Stalin in the Nineteen Thirties.

Mykola Kulish (1892-1937), regarded as the greatest Soviet playwright, was held in solitary confinement at an arctic camp and then murdered along with 289 members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. Volodymyr Svidzinskyi (1885-1941) survived the deaths of hundreds of his colleagues by ingeniously using silence to speak in his poems, only to be burnt alive in a train carriage in 1941 as the Soviets fled before the Nazis; a human casualty of the scorched earth policy. Yet the literature survives like a nettle breaking through concrete. Since regaining its independence, Ukraine has re-materialised on the map of Europe and is emerging onto the global literary scene. This course will Transread Ukrainian poetry alongside English writers to help poets explore one of the world’s greatest neglected literatures and develop exciting new work.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

Image Credit: Denys Rodionenko

About Steve Komarnyckyj View Profile

Steve Komarnyckyj is a poet and literary translator who is addicted to rescuing disabled dogs from Bosnia. His literary translations and poems have appeared or featured in Index on Censorship, The Guardian, The Economist, Modern Poetry in Translation and many other journals. He is the holder of two PEN awards and a well-regarded English language poet whose work has been described as articulating ‘what it means to be human’ (Sean Street). He is currently working on a sequence of poems built around the concept of re-imagining Britain as part of Europe.

‘I had never done a workshop before, so I wasn’t sure what it would be like. This was a convenient and affordable way to try out the workshop system. The environment was very supportive. Having finished the course, I think that one of the best parts was getting to connect with people internationally. I was also really impressed with the quality of the writing other people produced.’

– Autumn 2020 survey response

Related Courses