translated from the Ukrainian by Roman Ivashkiv and Erín Moure
to close this world like a book half-read
where the author clings to a cumbersome plot
where hordes of heroes are sold at a discount
where the heroes’ sorrow is elevated to the imperative
where each page resembles all its predecessors
where all that’s precious is buried in footnotes
or is buried in a flower bookmarking the middle
or in someone’s grey notes left in the margins
to close this trash to slam it shut throw it in a heap
or deep in the river — let the current take it
to save only the flower shrivelled and shortlived
to have faith in it… — to rewrite everything
закрити цей світ немов недочитану книжку
де автор незграбно тримає сюжет і мотив
де гори героїв розпродуються зі знижкою
де горе героїв возведено в імператив
де кожна сторінка нагадує всі попередні
де все найцінніше приховане в коментарях
чи в висохлій квітці закладеній десь посередині
чи в сірих помітках чужих на пожовклих полях
закрити цей мотлох затраснути кинути в пічку
чи в річку глибоку – хай течія геть віднесе
залишити квітку присохлу і недовговічну
повірити в неї і.. – переписати усе
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy
The translators wish to thank Yuri Izdryk for his continued support of their translation project, and The Malahat Review, who first published “synopsis” in their International Translation Issue, 2014.
Yuri Izdryk (born Kalush, Ukraine, 1962) is a writer, musician, and visual and performance artist, best known outside Ukraine for his novel Wozzeck, translated into English by Marko Pavlyshyn and published in 2006 in Edmonton. His latest collections of poetry, Ю (Yu—a mischievous play on a woman’s name, the first letter of his name, and the English pronoun) and Ab Out, are part of an extraordinarily prolific burst that began with Izdryk publishing new poems online, almost daily, in his blog.
Roman Ivashkiv, originally from Lviv, Ukraine, is a translation theorist, translator, and teacher of Ukrainian, Russian, and EAL, currently Lecturer and Language Program Coordinator in the Dept of Slavic Languages and Literatures at U Illinois. He holds a PhD in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies from U of A. His interests include translation studies, comparative literature, and Slavic postmodernism; he was an active member of Erín Moure’s non-credit poetry translation seminar at U of A in 2013-2014.
Erín Moure was U of A 2013-2014 writer-in-residence. Her latest works are a translation of Chus Pato’s biopoetics Secession, published in one volume with her own Insecession (BookThug, 2014) and Kapusta (Anansi, 2015), a play-poem-text and cabaret dealing with the Holocaust in Ukraine, but set behind a grandmother’s stove in Grande Prairie, AB, twenty years later. Moure’s selected poems, Planetary Noise, edited by Shannon Maguire, will appear in 2017 from Wesleyan University Press.
Translators’ Note — by Roman Ivashkiv: Izdryk’s poetry intertwines existential contemplations about love, identity, nature, and even God, all shrouded in an indefatigable play with language that encompasses incessant punning rhymes, Joycean multilingual puns, ludic shifts of tone and register, and scintillating intertextual games. In creating a sophisticated semantic soundscape where sound drives meaning, Izdryk impishly reinvigorates the rhyming tradition in Ukrainian poetry, which only recently leaned towards free verse. Largely letting go of Izdryk’s rhymes, we worked with his zany rhythms to capture his play with both modernity and tradition. To a Canadian reader, the poems evoke styles of hip-hop, jazz, or rap.
[produced, in part, for a series of events at the University of Alberta, March 3-5, 2016, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their writer-in-residence program]
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