Ecstasies and Elegies
This volume gathers together translations of the best works from all six of the extraordinary extant collections by Lemko-Ukrainian poet Bohdan Ihor Antonych's (1909-37): A Greeting to Life (1931), The Grand Harmony (1932-33), Three Rings (1934), The Book of the Lion (1936), The Green Gospel (1938), and Rotations (1938), as well as poetry published separately. It includes a translator's note and a biographical sketch on the poet by Michael M. Naydan and a comprehensive introduction by Dr. Lidia Stefanowska, one of the world's leading experts on Antonych's poetry and an Assistant Professor at Warsaw University.
While Antonych is not a household name in the discourse on Modernism that includes such great Slavic poets as Mandelstam, Pasternak, and Milosz, as well as their Western European counterparts Eliot, Rilke, and Lorca, in the opinion of many literary critics, he unquestionably should be. Critics have also compared him to Walt Whitman and Dylan Thomas. Only a small amount of Antonych's works has been available in English to date. In 1977 émigré Ukrainian poet Bohdan Boychuk with the American poets Mark Rudman and Paul Nemser translated and published a small, but well-received, book of Antonych's selected poems, A Square of Angels. The current edition of ninety-six poems complements that earlier volume with nearly two-thirds of the translations appearing in English for the first time and honors Antonych on the hundred-year anniversary of his birth.
"Some of the poems from Antonych's The Book of the Lion, as well as from the posthumously published The Great Green Gospel and Rotations deserve to be read alongside the work of his great contemporaries, such as Garcia Lorca and Mandelstam. It's there that the poet's metaphoric power comes fully into its own. Michael Naydan has done a major service in carrying over Antonych's desnse, syntactically supple verse into English." --Askold Melnyczuk, University of
Massachusetts at Boston
"In Ukraine Antonych was and remains something akin to a poetic cult figure, first and foremost among younger poets. The striking innovativeness of his poetic mode of thinking has profoundly shaped the creative expressiveness of succeeding generations, including the most recent." --Yuri Andrukhovych
"...as far as Naydan's selection is concerned, The Essential Poetry is truly excellent and leaves almost nothing to be desired...a praiseworthy and important step in the process of introducing this major Ukrainian poet (still largely unknown in the
West) to readers and scholars in the English-language world."
--Marko Robert Stech, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies and York University; Journal of Ukrainian Studies (2012)
About the author:
While Bohdan Ihor Antonych (1909-37) is not a household name in the discourse on Modernism that includes such great Slavic poets as Mandelstam, Pasternak, and Milosz, as well as their Western European counterparts Eliot, Rilke, and Lorca, in the opinion of many literary critics, he unquestionably should be. Critics have also compared him to Walt Whitman and Dylan Thomas. Antonych, who described himself as "an ecstatic pagan, a poet of the high of spring," lived, sadly, just for twenty-eight years, dying in 1937 from an infection after an appendectomy. Despite his young age and abbreviated lifespan, he managed to create an extremely powerful and innovative poetry with astonishing metaphorical constructions. When he moved to the multicultural city of Lviv to continue his higher education, he quickly adopted Ukrainian as his literary language and virtually transformed the Ukrainian poetic landscape.
About the translator:
Michael M. Naydan is Woksob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and a prolific translator from Ukrainian and Russian. He has published seventeen books of translations, over thirty articles and more than fifty translations in scholarly and literary journals. Among his publications are: The Poetry of Lina Kostenko: Wanderings of the Heart (1990); Marina Tsvetaeva's "After Russia" (1992); Igor Klekh, A Country the Size of Binoculars (2004); Yuri Andrukhovych, Perverzion (2005); and Bohdan-Ihor Antonych, The Grand Harmony (2007).
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