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SurVision Magazine

An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.

Issue Ten



Our Ukrainian Language

Each word
in our language
is from the Song already sung
and we use these words
when we talk
with our blood brothers

Each word
in our language
is recorded in the Living Chronicle
so that our enemies know
which words we use
when we are on our own and silent

Translated from the Ukrainian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

First published in The Frontier: 28 Contemporary Ukrainian Poets, ed. and transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Glagoslav Publications, UK, 2017.

Vasyl Holoborodko is a Ukrainian poet born in Andrianopil near Luhansk in 1945. He studied the Ukrainian language at the University of Kiev and the University of Donetsk, from which he was expelled for possessing a banned book on the russification of Ukraine. He wasn't allowed to study in the Gorky Institute for Literature, Moscow, so he only completed his education in 2001, after years of working as a miner and a farmhand. He also researched into Ukrainian folklore, and these materials were later published in book-form. He eventually settled in Luhansk, which he had to leave in 2014 following the Russian invasion. He now lives in Irpen. His first collection, The Flying Window, was published by a small émigré publishing in Baltimore, USA. He had to wait until 1988 for his next one, Green Day, to come out. He has since published another seven collections, the latest being White Room Plants (2013), as well as two books of his collected poems. English translations comprised the book titled Icarus with Butterfly Wings (Exile Editions, Toronto, 1991). In 1988, he was the recipient of the Vasyl Symonenko Prize; in 1994, of the Taras Shevchenko National Award, and in 2012, of the Mykola Hohol's International Award. In 2014, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature.

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