Russia’s War on Ukraine:
a special series of six online events co-hosted by:
- Melbourne Eurasianist Seminar Series at the University of Melbourne;
- Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia;
- Ukrainian Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand
Part V: “Poetry”
Friday 14 October, 5:00 p.m. AEDT
This session will feature:
- Associate Professor Uilleam Blacker (University College London)
- Yuliya Musakovska, poet and translator
- Lesyk Panasiuk, writer, translator, designer and artist
- Dr Iryna Shuvalova, poet and scholar
This event will take place online via Zoom. All are welcome. You can register for this event via this link.
Registration is free, but attendees who wish to support Ukraine may do so by making a donation to one of the appeals endorsed by the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations.
For more information, please email email@example.comAbstracts and Speaker Bios
Uilleam Blacker, “Writing around War: A Selective and Subjective Overview of Recent Ukrainian War Literature”
The talk will provide a broad and brief overview of the already large body of new Ukrainian war literature. It will also trace some noticeable tendencies in this literature, such as the documentary turn, the increasing focus on writers from Donbas (and their own explorations of the intersections of language and identity), the blurring of professional and non-professional writing, and the tendency among many to pay attention to the outskirts and edges of the war – i.e. civilian (often women’s) experience, non-frontline spaces, hidden aspects of the trauma of war.
Uilleam Blacker is Associate Professor of Comparative East European Culture at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. His research interests include cultural memory, urban memory, memory politics in Ukraine and Poland, Ukraine’s multilingual literary heritage, and contemporary Ukrainian war literature. He is the author of Memory, Forgetting and the Legacy of World War II in East Central Europe: Ghosts of Others (Routledge, 2019), co-author of Remembering Katyn (Polity, 2012) and co-editor of Memory and theory in Eastern Europe (Palgrave, 2013). His translations of Ukrainian authors have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.
Yuliya Musakovska, “How Relationship with Language Has Changed During the War”
I will speak about my own experience as a poet writing about Russia’s war in Ukraine from its very beginning in 2014 and continuing to write during the 2022 full-scale invasion. In my talk, I will discuss the following issues: the relationship with one’s native language and other languages during the war and how it affects writing; the aim of writing poetry while war atrocities are being committed by Russia in Ukraine; how war poems become “unpoems”; Ukrainian language of poetry being discovered abroad: takeaways from international festivals in 2022.
Yuliya Musakovska was born in 1982 in Lviv, Ukraine. She is an award-winning poet, translator, and member of PEN Ukraine. She is the author of five poetry collections in Ukrainian, most recently The God of Freedom [Бог свободи] (2021) and a bilingual collection Iron [Żelazo / Залізо] in Polish and Ukrainian (2022). She has received numerous literary awards in Ukraine, among them the prestigious Smoloskyp Poetry Award for young authors and the DICTUM prize. Her individual poems have been translated into more than 20 languages and published internationally, with recent works appearing in AGNI, The Apofenie Magazine, Life and Legends, The Springhouse Journal, One Art, Red Letters, etc. Yuliya is a translator of Tomas Tranströmer into Ukrainian and of contemporary Ukrainian authors into English.
Lesyk Panasiuk, “Poetry in Times of War: The Need for Dialog and a New Language”
I will talk about my own writing experience. I will discuss the need for cooperation and dialogue, and why and how language changes during war. I will tell you about cooperation with Daryna Gladun, with whom we are working on a joint collection of poetry, which will be published in Poland; cooperation with Oleh Kotsarev and Bohuslav Polak, with whom we invented and developed a new genre, which is called Poetry Zhuk, that employs a 3-line pattern (2–2–2). This will be a story about how language and the surrounding reality are connected.
Lesyk Panasiuk is a Ukrainian writer, translator, designer and artist from Bucha. He is the author of three poetry collections (in Ukrainian): «Камінь дощу» [Rainstone] (2013), the winner of Young Republic of Poets Prize; «Справжнє яблуко» [Real Apple] (2014), the winner of Smoloskyp Literary Prize; «Крики рук» [Screams of Hands] (2018), named one of the best poetry book of 2018 by PEN Ukraine; books in translation published in Romanian and Russian, individual works translated into 22 languages. Translator and co-translator of books by Valzhyna Mort, Siarhey Prylutski, Dmitry Kuzmin, Artem Werle and 3 anthologies of Belarusian literature. Co-translator of a libretto Limbus-Limbo by Patrick Hahn for an exhibition «Корисні копалини» [Subsoil assets] (2021). Panasiuk is a laureate of numerous literary and art contests, a recipient of fellowships from the President of Ukraine, International Writers’ and Translators’ House, House of Europe, Staromiejski House of Culture, Shevchenko Scientific Society.
Iryna Shuvalova, “Saying the Unspeakable: War Writing, Memory, and Trauma in the Context of the Russo-Ukrainian War”
In my talk, I will discuss the difficulty in positioning oneself as an author in one’s own war writing, particularly (but not only) when affected by the war directly. This difficulty certainly looks different for those writers inside Ukraine affected by the war, those outside the country’s borders temporarily due to fleeing the war, and those permanently residing outside Ukraine but retaining strong personal ties to the country. Nonetheless, the task of writing about a traumatic event like Russia’s recent full-scale invasion of Ukraine raises a number of questions. Who has the right to write about war? Is it necessary to have a personal experience of war to produce something of value when writing about the conflict? How does one write about one’s own trauma and one’s people’s trauma without re-traumatizing oneself? I will discuss these questions based on my own experience as a Ukrainian poet witnessing the war and writing about it from abroad. I will also briefly discuss opinions on the matter voiced by other Ukrainian writers inside and outside Ukraine. Finally, I will tentatively connect the discussion of the matter to the concepts of postmemory and prosthetic memory, by Marianne Hirsch and Alison Landsberg respectively.
Iryna Shuvalova is a poet and scholar from Kyiv, Ukraine, based in Nanjing, China. She holds a PhD in Slavonic Studies from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge scholar, and an MA in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College, where she was a Fulbright scholar. Her most recent and fifth book of poetry Stoneorchardwoods (2020) has been named book of the year by Ukraine’s Litaktsent Prize for Literature and received the Special Prize of the Lviv UNESCO City of Literature Book Award. In 2009, she co-edited 120 Pages of Sodom, the first anthology of queer writing in Ukraine. Her poetry has been translated into 23 languages and published internationally, including in Modern Poetry in Translation, Asymptote, White Review, Literary Hub, Apofenie, International Poetry Review, and others. Her forthcoming academic monograph, ‘Donbas Is My Sparta’: Identity and Belonging in the Songs of the Russo-Ukrainian War, explores the impact of the war on Ukrainian society, while her sixth book of poems The Ending Songs, containing her most recent war poetry, is forthcoming in Ukraine in early 2023.
Recordings of previous sessions can be accessed online:
Part I: Resistance
Part II: History
Part III: Propaganda
Part VI: ‘Rebuilding’ will take place on Friday 11 November at 5 pm AEST.
For enquiries, please email Felicity Hodgson at Felicity.firstname.lastname@example.org