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Poet Ilya Kaminsky emphasizes the importance of reading poets in translation to avoid self-absorption. The recently translated works by Ukrainian poets and novelists provide glimpses into various aspects of life in Ukraine, including domestic life, language, economics, culture, and violence. Despite being written before 2022, these works offer relevant snapshots of a country affected by war. In Belorusets' collection of absurdist stories, magic, witchcraft, and astrology are intertwined as women navigate through disillusionment and economic challenges. Chapeye's eclectic study portrays a love for travel and unveils truths about life in Ukraine through candid and darkly funny observations.
"Why read Ukrainian poets or any poets in translation for that matter? Because if we don't read poets in translation, we end up looking in the mirror 24/7."
The collection of absurdist stories by Belorusets delves into the lives of women in Ukraine. Through vignettes, the author depicts women living on the fringes of society, facing economic struggles and abrupt erasure. Chapeye's book combines memoir and fiction to provide a multifaceted view of Ukraine, exploring topics such as domestic conflicts, rural life, and crime. The stories also reflect Chapeye's appreciation for travel and the revelations that come with it. By pointing out what represents the "real Ukraine," the author captures the essence of the country and its nuanced experiences.
One such example is what Chapeye calls the romance of decline: unfinished...