Poems by Ukrainian Women in Celebration of International Women's Day (MANA) is pleased to join women across the globe in celebration of International Women's Day and National Women's History Month. In this post, MANA presents works by award-winning Ukrainian female poets.

At the same time, MANA, a woman-owned business, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. MANA, a self-publishing and distribution company, has a history of donating to charities during times when others have been in need. 

With every purchase of a special self-publishing offer or book this month, MANA will donate 10 percent to the International Committee of the Red Cross which is supporting the work of the Ukrainian Red Cross in helping those impacted by the war.

Check out MANA's two special offers on this blog post along with the blog post on MANA's recognition of Women's History Month. 

Featured Women Poets From Ukraine

Feel free to follow along with MANA's owner, Dr. Fairy Hayes-Scott, in her interpretative readings of poems on the audio below by: 

1. Yulia Musakovsk is based in Lviv. She has authored four poetry collections and translated Ukrainian poetry into English.

2. Iya Kiva is based in Kyiv. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Further from Heaven (Podal'she ot raya, 2018) and The First Page of Winter (Persha storinka zimy, 2019), and the recipient of numerous awards for her poetry and translation. 

3. Natalka Bilotserkivets is based in Kyiv. Her first collection of poems Ballad about the Invincibles (Balada pro neskorenykh) was published in 1976. She also published the collections, The Underground Fire (1984) and November (1989). The collections Allergy (Алергія) (1999) and Central Hotel (Готель Централь) (2004) were the winners of Book of the Month contests in 2000 and 2004 respectively.

Do Not Kiss Me on the Forehead like a Corpse
by Yulia Musakovska and translated by Yury Zavadsky

Do not kiss me on the forehead like a corpse 

say, almost twice withered, the glasses and eyes themselves.

Mixed medicines with sweets, the pages of the book as yellow as his skin.

He pours a few of his precious stories into the empty space.

I see all the protagonists as old acquaintances. KGB officers squatting on the same hospital bed, in shiny Hungarian shoes — for these he could kill. The look is mocking.

He said, these Beatles, this foreign languages department, would not do you any good.

All this is for the chosen ones, not for orphans, poor relatives.

And he hid like cheese in butter, quietly like a mouse.

We caught people like you in the alleys, cut the roots.

Respectable people liked it, this was respected.

It would be for his son. For a fighting pear, for live warm meat.

I also see that woman, her crooked, bright mouth. Her

spider legs, dotted porcelain, metal tools.

A musty apartment with ceilings that are too high.

But I see him the clearest of all — strong, with a guitar.

With eyes wide open and his thumbs in the pockets of his jeans.

With thousands of book pages stored in memory.

With a face open to the world. To the dark and deep water.

Not for a girl, not for a dispute -

for the free range of arms,

for a high wave, albeit not on the shoulder.

you think you've turned on Bach

by Iva Kiva

you think you've turned on Bach

in the speakers are military marches,

you think that's Jascha Heifetz,

you hear the plaintive whistling of shells,

the violin sounds coarser,

the coloratura soprano sound of war

is an octave higher,

blood fills your ears,

the bow's been killed.

Love in Kyiv

by Natalka Bilotserkivets

Love in Kyiv is scarier than beautiful

Venetian passions. Depraved and light,

butterflies fly to flaming wicks—

brilliant wings burn on the dead caterpillar!

Spring ignites candles of chestnuts.


The delicate taste of cheap lipstick lingers,

evocative innocence of miniskirts,

and those forelocks, badly shaved—

Images and memory disturb

like sad, blunt pop-songs.


You’ll die here from a sly knife.

Or your blood will appear like rust

on a new Audi on the backstreets of Tatarka.

Wearing a white clerk shirt,

you’ll fly from the balcony, the sky,

to your dirty, small Paris.


Who can tell marriage from death?

Love in Kyiv is scarier than schemes

of new communism: at night drunken

ghosts come out from Lysa Hora

carrying red flags and potted red geraniums.


You’ll die here from a sly knife,

or fly from the balcony, the sky—

or in a new Audi from the backstreets of Tatarka—

to your dirty, private Paris.

Your blood will stain like rust

on your white clerk shirt.

No comments:

Post a Comment