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Beauty and Resilience: Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Exhibit

Volume 9: The Country Where Everybody’s Name is Fear

Co-edited by Ilya Kaminsky, Katie Farris

Widely regarded as one of Ukraine’s most prominent Russian-language poets, Boris Khersonsky was born in 1950 in Chernivtsi and spent most of his life in Odessa, where he practiced medicine at a psychiatric hospital and taught psychology at Odesa National University. In soviet times, Khersonsky was a part of Samizdat movement, which disseminated alternative, non-conformist literature. After the fall of USSR, he published many books of poetry which have been widely translated and published all over the world. 

Born in Tiraspol, Moldova in 1964, Liudmila Khersonsky is an award-winning author of three collections of poetry. Her work has been honored with the Voloshin Prize and translated into several languages, including German and Lithuanian. In the U.S., her poems have appeared in Poetry International, Plume, and other journals. She lives in Odesa, Ukraine. 

The couple has been extremely active in advocating for Ukraine, participating in initiatives to save the Ukrainian book publishing industry, where book sales dropped from 40 million in 2021 to 4 million in 2022.  

Co-editor along with Ilya Kaminsky, Katie Farris is the author of Boysgirls and A Net to Catch My Body in Its Weaving which won the Chad Walsh Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal.   

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic. He received The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry and the Neustadt International Literature Prize. 

See The Tail That Wags The Dog 

See the tail that wags the dog. 

Language is speaking the man. 

Look, the shovel is making a hole in the grave digger! 

Brushes paint artists into the walls! 

The hip is wagging the dancer, see? 

That oar is rowing every person in the boat. 

Don’t you see it? Here is a head that thinks a man into a man. 

—Liudmyla Khersonsky 

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