Ostap Slyvynsky’s The Winter King by presents a selection from a decade and a half worth of work by one of Ukraine’s most prominent contemporary voices in poetry. Slyvynsky is the poet of everyday things. He writes of children’s games, old trees, and family stories. Yet what emerges from under his pen is a portrait of an era. His writing, simultaneously delicate and unflinchingly incisive, like a surgeon’s hand, always probes for the bottomless depths gaping behind the mundane. Perhaps the greatest of Slyvynsky’s gifts as a poet is his ability to examine individual voices and memories for traces of larger historical events without ever trivializing the former in the face of the latter. His spare, lean poems unearth a complex and layered human reality that is both universal and strikingly, almost painfully rooted in the landscape that birthed it, be it the poet’s family home in the Carpathian mountains or the Maidan square in Kyiv, aflame with revolution. Slyvynsky’s remarkable attention to detail results in strikingly beautiful and enigmatic texts that invite multiple re-readings, each peeling off yet another layer of reality. However, what always remains at the core after these layers are stripped off is the poet’s profound humanity. Drawing on three of Slyvynsky’s earlier poetry collections, this volume also includes some of his most recent poems—arguably, among the poet’s best.
Ostap Slyvynsky is a Ukrainian poet, translator, essayist, and scholar. He authored five books of poetry in Ukrainian, and his poetry collections have been published in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. Slyvynsky’s poetry and translations have earned him the Lviv City of Literature UNESCO Prize (2020), the Medal for Merit to Polish Culture (2014), and the Hubert Burda Poetry Prize (2009). Since 2021, he organizes PEN Ukraine’s festival Propysy (The Writings) aimed at novice authors. In 2015, he collaborated with Ukrainian composer Bohdan Sehin on a media performance, Preparation, dedicated to civilian victims of war in the east of Ukraine. In 2022, Ostap Slyvynsky launched the Dictionary of War, a literary project based on the documentary testimony of participants and witnesses of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Vitaly Chernetsky is a Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas. A native of Odesa, Ukraine, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and has been translating poetry and prose into English since the mid-1990s. His translations into English include Yuri Andrukhovych’s novels The Moscoviad (2008) and Twelve Circles (2015) and a volume of his selected poems, Songs for a Dead Rooster (Lost Horse Press, 2018, with Ostap Kin), a book by the Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze, Zhdanovka (2006), and two children’s books by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, Sound (2020) and Sight (2021). Translation of Sophia Andrukhovych’s novel Felix Austria is in press from Harvard.
Iryna Shuvalova is a poet and scholar from Kyiv, Ukraine, based in Oslo, Norway. She is the author of five award-winning books of poetry, including Pray to the Empty Wells available in English (Lost Horse Press, 2019). Her most recent and fifth book of poetry Stoneorchardwoods (2020) has been named book of the year by Ukraine’s LitAktsent Prize for Literature and received the Special Prize of the Lviv UNESCO City of Literature Book Award. In 2009, she co-edited 120 Pages of ‘Sodom,’ the first anthology of queer writing in Ukraine. Her poetry has been translated into 25 languages and published internationally, including in Modern Poetry in Translation, The White Review, Literary Hub, Die Zeit, and others. Her forthcoming academic monograph ‘Donbas Is My Sparta’: Identity and Belonging in the Songs of the Russo-Ukrainian War explores the impact of the war on Ukrainian society. She holds a PhD in Slavonic Studies from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge scholar, and an MA in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College, where she was a Fulbright scholar.
Lost Horse Press Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Series
$24.00 / 979-8-9865715-5-3 / Pbk. / 168 pages
Available in September