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Presented By: Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

CREES Lecture. Ukrainian Poetry and Resistance

Part of the LSA Arts & Resistance Theme Semester

Ukrainian Poetry and Resistance Ukrainian Poetry and Resistance
Ukrainian Poetry and Resistance
In this panel, Alex Averbuch, Oksana Maksymchuk, and Max Rosochinsky join in conversation moderated by Svitlana Rogovyk over the interweaving traditions of poetry and resistance in Ukraine. Poetry has been used as a tool of resistance in Ukraine in a number of ways: as a means of preserving languages, as a witness to atrocity, as a form of remembrance, as a testament to survival, and as a grounds for experimentation and celebration. As poets, translators, and scholars of Ukraine, the panelists offer their personal and professional insights to the social role of the arts in the context of Ukraine's multiethnic culture and history. Discussion will be accompanied by poetry reading.

Responding to Russia’s war against Ukraine, artist Irina Bondarenko created the installation Guardian Passage by pairing images of guardian figures with the lines of poetry to invoke the sense of cultural guardianship that Ukrainian language carries for the nation. Alex Averbuch’s poem, “He wasn’t there alone” in Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky’s translation is featured in the project.

Alex Averbuch, a poet, translator, and scholar, is the author of three books of poetry and an array of literary translations between Hebrew, Ukrainian, English, and Russian. English translations of his poems have appeared in the Manhattan Review, Copper Nickel, Plume, Birmingham Poetry Review, Words Without Borders, Constellations, and Common Knowledge. His latest book, Zhydivs’kyi korol' (The Jewish King), was a finalist for the Shevchenko National Prize, Ukraine’s highest award for culture and literature. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University.

Oksana Maksymchuk is a bilingual Ukrainian-American poet, scholar, and literary translator. Her poetry appeared in AGNI, The Irish Times, The Paris Review, The Poetry Review, and elsewhere. In Ukrainian, she is the author of poetry collections Xenia and Lovy and a recipient of the B.-I. Antonych and Smoloskyp prizes, two of Ukraine’s top awards for younger poets. She is a visiting professor of English at the University of Chicago.

Max Rosochinsky is a poet, scholar, and translator. With Oksana Maksymchuk, he co-edited Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine, and co-translated Apricots of Donbas by Lyuba Yakimchuk, and The Voices of Babyn Yar by Marianna Kiyanovska. Their award-winning work has been supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Fulbright Scholar Program, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Endowment for the Arts. He is a visiting scholar in Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Chicago.

Svitlana Rogovyk is a teaching professor and language program coordinator in the U-M Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Svitlana specializes in second language acquisition and pedagogy, language curriculum design and development, teaching Slavic languages to heritage speakers, and language proficiency assessment.

This panel is presented in coordination with the exhibition Guardian Passage: The Power of Ukrainian Cultural Memory in the Face of War featuring art by Irina Bondarenko and Katya Lisova on display in the International Institute Gallery (547 Weiser Hall) from October 2 - November 29, 2023.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Arts Initiative at the University of Michigan and is co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, LSA Theme Semester on Arts and Resistance; U-M Arts Initiative; and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.

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