Уривок з передмови George S. N. Luckyj до книги “Four Ukrainian Poets…”

Luckyj George Stephen NestorPoetry has always held a special place in Ukrainian literature. In the early nineteenth century, when the first literary works came to be written in the vernacular, poets outnumbered prose writers by far. In those days poetry was strongly influenced by folksongs and by the historical epic-lyric songs, the dumy. Soon, the lyrical and historical themes often derived from folklore were supplanted by poems with original intellectual content. Taras Shevchenko (1814-61), who was a true founder of modern Ukrainian literature, was a poet with a definite world outlook. Since his poems coincided with and indeed were the best expression of the awakened national consciousness they related to a large extent to the problems of the Ukrainian national destiny. Yet uppermost in all his works was concern for suffering humanity. Therefore, Shevchenko’s influence which dominated Ukrainian literature for a century, was not only an expression of national and social but also of universal human sentiments. Among the modern Ukrainian poets, Symonenko and to a lesser extent, Korotych, are Shevchenko’s heirs…

The last of the quartet, Vasyl Symonenko, is no longer alive. He died in 1963 at the age of 28. He was born in the village of Biyevtsi in the province of Poltava. After finishing school he studied journalism at Kiev University. He graduated in 1957 and worked as a correspondent for two papers in Cherkasy. His first volume of poetry, Tysha i lirim (Silence and Thunder) came out in 1962. Another volume, Zemne tyazhinnya (Earth’s Gravity) was published posthumously in 1964. A selection of his poems, some previously unpublished, and his diaries, Bweh chekan (Edge of Anticipation) appeared in 1965 in New York. Symonenko’s poems on pp. 66-76 of present collection have not been published in the Soviet Union. Simplicity is Symonenko’s greatest virtue. His poems are straithforward monologues of great power.
This bilingual editon is designed not only for the student of literature but also for the general reader. For those who cannot make comparison between opposite pages, translations are the only way to enter into the spirit of modern Ukrainian poetry. The selection of poems offered in this volume does not claim to be representative of the four poets. It was made by the translators and was dictated partly by their own inclinations and partly by the need to satisfy the requirements of public poetry readings. However, the choices are good examples of the four poets’ work. The Ukrainian texts are reproduced in their original orthography. The only change is the spelling of “God” with a capital letter. The dates of the poems by Drach, Korotych and Symonenko are those of the collections in which they appeared. Some of the poems were published earlier in literary journals. The dates of Kostenko’s poems art those of the first publication in literary magazines since few of them were in¬cluded in her collections.

George S. N. Luckyj

Four Ukrainian Poets: Drach, Korotych, Kostenko, Symonenko. Front Cover. George Stephen Nestor Luckyj. Quixote, 1969 – English poetry – 83 pages.

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