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Contemporary Ukrainian War Poetry

Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

The presentation examines the poetry that emerged from the occupied Donbas over the past five years. While some of the poets fled the region and resettled in Ukraine or in Russia, others stayed behind, enduring food and electricity shortages, routine shelling, and living under the threat of physical violence. Of these, some went underground, while others became vocal representatives of their new perceived body politic. How do different decisions and life-choices shape the narrative-building and meaning-making strategies of these artists? What traditions do the artists evoke in their poems, and what recognizable tropes do they rely on? Whose perspectives do they take up, and what rhetorical, political, or artistic goals do their choices serve? Drawing mostly on self-published materials posted to social media platforms and blogs, the presentation offers a glimpse into the new Donbas poetry and its covert and overt ideals of documenting, unmuting, memory-making, historicizing, and transcending while also calling these very ideals into question