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The Composition of Soil: Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Between the Holocaust and Holodomor

Monday, March 11, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
The Composition of Soil: Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Between the Holocaust and Holodomor

At many points in modern history, Ukrainian identity has been bound up with the Ukrainian language, Christianity, and collective experiences of trauma as Ukrainians. In the wake of the 2013–14 Euromaidan protests, and throughout the ensuing war in Donbas, which escalated in 2022 with Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, poets in Ukraine sought to correct the failures of both Soviet Nationalities Policy and post-Soviet Ukrainian national identity-formation by weaving Jewish, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar histories of collective trauma into their writing. In this talk, Amelia Glaser will discuss the recent work of poets including Marianna Kiyanovska, Halyna Kruk, and Iya Kiva, whose attempt to bridge seemingly irreconcilable histories are simultaneously a response to the ongoing war, and part of what scholars have identified as a recent shift from viewing Ukrainian identity as an ethnic category to a civic one. These poems help to probe a key question for Ukraine and beyond: what are the risks, opportunities, and responsibilities of contemporary writers who seek to find analogies for the Holocaust.

Amelia Glaser is professor of literature at University of California San Diego where she holds the Chair in Judaic Studies. A scholar and translator of Ukrainian, Russian, and Yiddish literature, she is the author of Jews and Ukrainians in Russia’s Literary Borderlands (Northwestern UP, 2012), Songs in Dark Times: Yiddish Poetry of Struggle from Scottsboro to Palestine (Harvard University Press, 2020), the editor of Stories of Khmelnytsky: Literary Legacies of the 1648 Ukrainian Cossack Uprising (Stanford University Press, 2015) and, with Steven Lee, Comintern Aesthetics (U. Toronto Press, 2020); and the translator of Proletpen: America’s Rebel-Yiddish Poets (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005) and, with Yuliya Ilchuk, A Crash Course in Molotov Cocktails: Poems by Halyna Kruk (Arrowsmith Press, 2023).

Co-Sponsored with Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Center for Global Studies, Global and International Studies Program, and Woskob Endowment for Ukrainian Studies

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Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library

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