Skip to Main Content

Beauty and Resilience: Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Exhibit

Volume 3: Smokes

Translated by Roman Ivashkiv and Erin Moure

Izdryk, who is usually only known by his last name, was born in Kalush, Ukraine in 1962. For several years he worked with fellow Lost Horse Press poet Yuri Andrukhoych on the experimental literary magazine, Chetver [Thursday], which gave rise to many young Ukrainian poetic voices. Outside of Ukraine he is best known for his 1997 novel Wozzeck, translated by Marko Pvlyshyn and published in 2006. Although also a musician and a visual and performing artist, Izdryk is notorious for being serially reclusive but enjoys performing with the hip-hop/trap band DrumTyAtr. 

After taking a break from poetry for many years, Izdryk reconnected with his craft and has published six poetry collections since 2013, including Yu, Pislia Prozy, [After Prose], Ab Out, Kalendar liubovi [Calender of Love], Papirosy [Smokes], and Linyvi i nizhni [Lazy and Gentle].  The poems in this present Lost Horse Press volume were collected from these collections, as well as from his Livejournal Blog, "The Dead Diary".  

Translator Roman Ivashkiv is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has published extensively on translation studies and psycholinguistics. Erin Moure is a translator and poet, whose poetry collection Furious won the Governor General’s Award in 1988.  

In their introduction, Ivashkiv and Moure frame their translation process: “Thankfully tit for tat rarely works in poetry translation, so we just let the exuberance of Idryk’s soundscape prevail. While paying meticulous attention to sounds, meaning, resonances of each word, and each word in relation to its neighbors, we tried to capture his deft play with modernity and tradition, and to let loose his vigorous gallows humor.”  


I no longer think about  

who you’re with or where you go 

where we never went and where we’ll never be 

let’s stop this vendetta 

Let’s not give a damn let’s drop it 

let’s bust through the stage props 

screw things up topple them over 

let’s stop making sense 

let’s bomb it all flat 

let’s devise devices and chemical weapons 

let’s launch aeroplanes 

just listen to what I’m saying! 

just look – what grand plans! 

Front Cover of Smokes

Photo of Yuri Izdryk




WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us