A Flight Over the Black Sea: Ihor Pavlyuk’s book presented in London
5 March 2014
‘A Flight Over the Black Sea’, a book by Ukrainian poet Ihor Pavlyuk, was presented in London on 5 March by the Dash Cafe, the British Ukrainian Society and English PEN.
Consisting of 75 poems by Ihor Pavlyuk, the book was originally published in Ukrainian. It was then translated to English by Steve Komarnyckyj and published by Waterloo Press.
The poems create a powerful mythic world, in some ways akin to the confessional poetry of Sylvia Plath, but with a focus on questions of language, empire and identity. Pavlyuk’s poetic world, the internal cosmos he created in exile in St. Petersburg, has resulted in a subjective, confessional poetry in a Slavic language.
The evening featured a conversation about Ukraine’s present by a panel chaired by Dash Artistic Director, Josephine Burton, and including journalist Annabelle Chapman, translator Steve Komarnyckyj, and the author himself.
Inspired by an extraordinary and complex picture of Ukraine painted in Pavlyuk’s work, the panel gave the audience a unique perspective on the current political situation in the country. Meanwhile, the event also featured haunting and soulful music of Ukrainian performer and composer Olesya Zdorovetska.
‘A Flight Over the Black Sea’ received an English PEN Writers in Translation award for 2014. PEN’s Translation programme aims to celebrate books of outstanding literary value, dedication to free speech and inter-cultural understanding.
About Ihor Pavlyuk
Ihor Pavlyuk was born in the Volyn region of Ukraine in January 1967 and studied at the St Petersburg Military University, which he quit in order to pursue his career as a writer.
He was, as the result, sentenced to a period of hard labour in the Taiga, where he wrote poetry that would eventually feature in his books. Pavlyuk returned to Ukraine during the collapse of the Soviet Union, and subsequently completed his education to receive PhD in Social Communication.
His numerous poetry collections include ‘Islands of Youth’ (“Острови юності” / 1990), ‘Magma’ (“Магма” / 2005), ‘Ukraine at Smoke’ (“Україна в диму” / 2009), and ‘Masculine Fortune-Telling’ (“Чоловічe ворожіння” / 2013). His works have been translated into several languages, including English, French, Polish, Russian and Japanese.