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Опубликовано: 2006.12.31


Ihor Pavlyuk (Ігор Павлюк), Ukrainian poet

UKRAINIAN LITERATURE: A POET’S OUTLOOK


UKRAINIAN LITERATURE: A POET’S OUTLOOK

(PRESENTATION AT INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR IN IRELAND (November, 2006)

Dear Irish! Dear Friends!
Sincere greeting to all of you from all writers from Ukraine.
Sorry for my English that is far from being perfect.
It has been my old dream to come to Ireland one day because I had a feeling that “iron” land, this Isle is the fatherland of my old genetic predecessors. A manager of one pub in New York, old Irish man Patrick who in 1999 hired me to play role of monk-barmen in that pub told me that some relation to Irish can be the case… and when on St. Patrick day, the 17th of March, many Irish people came to our pub and to New York, I discovered that I am really similar to them … to you… at least it is pleasing to think so. Probably, my old ancestor-pilgrim moved to the south, fall in love with a Slavic girl and stayed in our land…  By the way, archeologists say that Celtic and Scandinavian settlements were not rare in Ukraine.
It is hard to say for sure what was happening to my ancestors many centuries ago, but I certainly know that the histories of our nations are similar. For a long time they felt pressure on the part of their imperial neighbors, and people had to cross the ocean in order to survive. Because of this, Ireland and Ukraine have so large Diasporas.
Your beautiful freedom-loving nation has created unique literature of the world significance that originates, as well as our Ukrainian literature, in 8-10 centuries and is rooted in folklore and heroic epos with image of Kuhulin, in sagas about Oisin, Bards’ poetry … As well as Ukrainians, Irish had to struggle for the right to speak and write in their native language and to live on the native soil.
For Ukrainian schoolchildren, students, for everyone who reads, thinks, feels, representatives of new Irish literature… are Bernard Show, James Joys, Frank O’Connor; by the way, Japan writer Haruki Murakami received O’Connor literary award this year. Among international authorities in poetry there is Noble prize winner in 1995 poet Heaney Shames – it would be good to meet him.
Global and ecological processes as well as mutations of culture in civilization challenge us, the writers, and these challenges are much deeper than just from sphere of game or pure aesthetics. Sometimes they are related to the level of religion and have something to do with salvation of something irrational and rational at the same time – our common cradle, planet Earth.
In the age of Internet and mobile phones, communication of what we call souls, hearts remain invaluable; that is why I am sincerely grateful to European Cultural Contact Point Ireland and Embassy of Ukraine in Ireland and personally to Catherine Boothman, Irina Yafremova for organization of such seminars, meetings of representatives of cultures; thanks destiny that has chosen me for this meeting to represent literature known by great personalities Taras Shevchenko, Mykola Gogol’, Ivan Franko, Lesya Ukraiinka, Olexandr Dovzhenko, Vasyl’ Barka, Ivan Bagrianyi, Vasyl’ Stus, Lina Kostenko...
Our literature as well as Irish has deep and strong folk roots and modern wings, even many common motifs and moods. This is a theme for a separate scholarly research. Our folk and literary songs are soulful, and Ruslana’s victory in Eurovision showed well this aspect of our culture.
It would not be appropriate to deliver lecture in Ukrainian literature here. I can only say that its development is marked by first poetic writing “The Tale of Prince Ihor’s Raid,” healthy laughter of Ivan Kotliarevs’kyi, prophetic tragic intonations of Taras Shevchenko, encyclopedic scale of Ivan Franko, has been developing in unison with the development of the world literature, its main trends (from sentimentalism, through Romanism, to modernism and postmodernism – and back, to natural authenticity). Also, our literature is connected to the struggle for liberty, with dissident movements, so our writers often (like Taras Shevchenko, Vasyl’ Stus) were in jail or in exile, as… almost all real poets. By the way, Vasyl’ Stus, as well as earlier Ivan Franko, was nominated for the Nobel Prize and probably had chances to receive it, but he died in the Soviet camp of Kolyma for his political views, as well as Ivan Franko also died in the year of nomination.
Maybe, such a great Irish poet as Heaney Sheimas could support our best writers in their efforts leading to receiving the Noble prize.
Now we have independent state, and appearance of this state on the maps and in hearts was confirmed recently by the Orange revolution. Poets  do not become prisoners any more. We realize that we are not translated enough into other languages. With the decay of once powerful Kyivan Rus’ and Zaporizhzhia Sich state formations, Ukrainians were culturally marginalized as a nation that did not have its own state.
Yet, old offences related to politics, business, religion is not a good topic for conversation in a noble company. It would be much better to talk and to do something good, bright, poetic, optimistic, common, to do not at the ideological or technological but at cultural-sacral levels.
Some steps in direction of such cooperation are being made now in Ukraine, as, for example, publishing a small-size book in English “Ukrainian literature today,” which presents poetry of fifteen modern Ukrainian poets, including Valerii Illiya and Lina Kostenko – laureate of international Francesco Petrarca prize, who, in particular, writes
Maybe it’s me after thousands of years –
My other self, woken up in the genes,
Ramblers this land, looking for just a trace
Of my own kin in these legends and woes!
Also, Union of Writers of Ukraine has published a similar book of prose that represents classical Vasyl’ Stefanyk, Hrygir Tiutiunnyk and also modern writers Victor Miniaylo, Mariya Matios, Yevgen Pashkovs’kyi…
Good ideas for cooperation between our cultures are many. We are ready to realize them. To translate and publish Irish poetry in Ukrainian – and vice versa. We have a new generation of translators and writers who are able and want to communicate with the world while staying Ukrainian, national and by this they can be interesting to other cultures.
In the end of my presentation I would like to recite two short poems to you; my friend Ivan Teplyi translated them into English; he is university teacher of English, but, ironically, he has never been to Ireland. He also translated my short story about Irish American Patrick that I met in New York – probably I could read it too at some convenient occasion.
And now the poems:
* * *
At someone's will
The Earth gives birth
To flowers, grasses, seas,
To horses, butterflies
And humans...
Why shouldn't she
Give birth
To an Earthling?

THE LITTLE GIRL
Little girl, bare-footed,
Weeping Granny's door-side,
With an upset, deep-rooted,
Autumn limping yard-wide.

Chilly heart's far from pretty.
Rooster's song no more sung…
– So for whom is your pity?
Answers she:
– Everyone...

I am ready to listen to you and to suggest to you ideas of cooperation between Ireland and Ukraine, such as translation of texts of Irish and Ukrainian writers, presentations, meetings, seminars.

Some poetry sites are as follows:

http://www.poezia.org
http://www.poetry.uazone.net
http://www.virshi.kiev.ua
http://www.vesna.org.ua


Thank you for your attention.


Ihor Pavlyuk



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