On this World Poetry Day, 2022 I wanted to mention that the wonderful Modern Poetry in Translation magazine has made its 2017 issue featuring contemporary poetry and essays from Russian and Ukrainian poets available free to read online – here’s the link to the issue on MPT’s website.
Published in 2017, here’s the opening paragraph from Sasha Dugdale’s editorial:
This, my last, issue of MPT features poems of conflict and protest from Russia and Ukraine. The conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine is politically intricate, and at the same time it is diabolically simple. In 2014 Russia covertly invaded an area of Ukraine with an ethnically and linguistically Russian population after illegally annexing Crimea. A fierce war broke out, with daily casualties and atrocities, and even now it smoulders on in the area. Propaganda and false truths draw a veil over the war and its many casualties and victims, and serve at the same time to heap grievance upon grievance; to ensure that peace will remain provisional and uneasy.
And here’s one extract from ‘Home Is Still Possible There…’ by Kateryna Kalytko, translated by Olena Jennings and Oksana Lutsyshyna:
"Home is still possible there, where they hang laundry out to dry, and the bed sheets smell of wind and plum blossoms. It is the season of the first intimacy to be consummated, never to be repeated. Every leaf emerges as a green blade and the cries of life take over the night and find a rhythm."
Do dip in to the issue, I was so glad to be able to return to it and read it in light of what is happening now, to help me better understand something of the history and politics of Russia and Ukraine.