The Essential Poetry of Bohdan Ihor Antonych: Ecstasies and Elegies

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9781611483529: The Essential Poetry of Bohdan Ihor Antonych: Ecstasies and Elegies
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This volume gathers together translations of the best works from all six of the extraordinary extant collections by Lemko-Ukrainian poet Bohdan Ihor Antonych: A Greeting to Life (1931), The Grand Harmony (1932-33), Three Rings (1934), The Book of the Lion (1936), The Green Gospel (1938), and Rotations (1938), as well as poetry published separately. It includes a translator's note and a biographical sketch on the poet by Michael M. Naydan and a comprehensive introduction by Dr. Lidia Stefanowska, one of the world's leading experts on Antonych's poetry.

While Antonych is not a household name in the discourse on Modernism that includes such great Slavic poets as Mandelstam, Pasternak, and Milosz, as well as their Western European counterparts Eliot, Rilke, and Lorca, in the opinion of many literary critics, he unquestionably should be. Critics have also compared him to Walt Whitman and Dylan Thomas. Only a small amount of Antonych's works has been available in English to date. In 1977 émigré Ukrainian poet Bohdan Boychuk with the American poets Mark Rudman and Paul Nemser translated and published a small, but well-received, book of Antonych's selected poems, A Square of Angels. The current edition of ninety-six poems complements that earlier volume with nearly two-thirds of the translations appearing in English for the first time and honors Antonych on the hundred-year anniversary of his birth.

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About the Author:

While Bohdan Ihor Antonych (1909–37) described himself as "an ecstatic pagan, a poet of the high of spring." He lived, sadly, for just twenty-eight years, dying in 1937 from an infection after an appendectomy.

Michael M. Naydan is Woksob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies at the Pennsylvania State University and a prolific translator of Ukrainian and Russian.

Review:

In Ukraine Antonych was and remains something akin to a poetic cult figure, first and foremost among younger poets. The striking innovativeness of his poetic mode of thinking has profoundly shaped the creative expressiveness of succeeding generations, including the most recent. (Yuri Andrukhovych)

Some of the poems from Antonych's The Book of the Lion, as well as from the posthumously published The Great Green Gospel and Rotations deserve to be read alongside the work of his great contemporaries, such as Garcia Lorca and Mandelstam. It's there that the poet's metaphoric power comes fully into its own. Michael Naydan has done a major service in carrying over Antonych's desnse, syntactically supple verse into English. (Askold Melnyczuk, University of Massachusetts at Boston)

A selection of Lemko-Ukrainian Antonych's (1909-37) poems were translated into English by American poets Mark Rudman and Paul Nemser for a 1977 volume edited by emigre Ukrainian poet Bohdan Boychuk, but otherwise, his work is little known on the world stage. Naydan (Ukrainian studies, Pennsylvania State U.) offers a complementing selection to mark the centenary of the poet's birth. Over half of the 108 poems appeared in English for the first time here, and of the others, he prefers his own translation, naturally. The selection is from all his published collections, as well as some uncollected poems. An index of names in the introductions is included, along with English titles and titles in Latin and Ukrainian. (Book News, Inc.)

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