Poetry Travels with Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo: SIRENS by Victoria Amelina, translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

Air-raid sirens across the country
It feels like everyone is brought out
For execution
But only one person gets targeted
Usually the one at the edge
This time not you; all clear

Victoria Amelina

Translated from the Ukrainian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

First published in Invasion: Ukrainian Poems about the War (ed. by Tony Kitt; SurVision Books, Dublin, Ireland, 2022)

Victoria Amelina was born in Lviv in 1986. At the age of fourteen she immigrated to Canada and was later living in the USA, but then returned to Ukraine. She worked in engineering and held a M. Sc. degree in computer science. She wrote poetry but is better known as a fiction writer. Her first novel, The Falling Leaves Syndrome, appeared in 2015; her second novel entitled Dom’s Dream Kingdom (2017) was short-listed for the European Union Prize for Literature. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Ukrainian National Literary Award. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 she has documented the crimes committed by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians. On 27 June 2023, she was injured during the Russian terror attack on a restaurant in Kramatorsk when it was hit by an Iskander missile. She died of her injuries on July 1 at the age of 37, one of the thirteen civilians who lost their lives in this attack, including three children. Her poem, the translation of which appears on this page, was first published in Invasion: Ukrainian Poems about the War anthology edited by Tony Kitt (SurVision Books, 2022).

Anatoly Kudryavitsky is an Irish poet and translator. His father was Ukrainian from Dnipro, mother Irish-Italian. He worked as a journalist, a creative writing tutor, and an editor. He is the author of five collections of his poetry, the latest being The Two-Headed Man and the Paper Life (MadHat Press, USA, 2019), which has also been published in translation into Romanian. He has published two translated anthologies of contemporary Ukrainian poetry, with Glagoslav (UK) and SurVision Books (Ireland), and an anthology of contemporary German poetry in English translation, with Dedalus Press (Ireland).

Photo by Lisa Kalloo

Check out the Poetry Travels book list on bookshop.org.

Read previous poems in the Poetry Travels series:

JOB: A WOMAN by Dominika Lewicka-Klucznik, translated by Anna Blasiak

BAGS by Blerina Rogova Gaxha, translated by Vlora Konushevci

TONGUEFISH by Yolanda Castaño, translated by Keith Payne

WHAT DO YOU NEED by Friederike Mayröcker, translated by Christina Daub

A WORK OF BIOGRAPHY by Max Jacob, translated by Ian Seed

UNTITLED POEM by Ivano Fermini, translated by Ian Seed


LIGHT by Vasyl Makhno, translated by Olena Jennings

A MESSAGE FROM THE ISLE OF WIGHT by Wioletta Greg, translated by Maria Jastrzębska and Anna Blasiak

HOME by Nataša Sardžoska, translated by the Author

ONLY THE BEGINNING COUNTS (4) by Jan Baeke, translated by Antoinette Fawcett

*** (RABID WINDS) by Gerður Kristný, translated by Rory McTurk

ANSWER TO THE PRAYERS by Vainius Bakas, translated by Kerry Shawn Keys

AGGRESSOR’S MONOLOGUE by Artūras Valionis, translated by Jura Avizienis

THAT’S ALL by Jurgita Jasponytė, translated by Jura Avizienis

UNTITLED by Linas Umbrasas, translated by Audra Skukauskaitė

FIRST SPRING OF THE WAR by Vytautas Kaziela, translated by Jura Avizienis

A LETTER TO A CHILD by Lina Buidavičiutė, translated by Ada Valaitis

UNTITLED by Aneta Kamińska, translated by Anna Blasiak

TWO LYRICS OF LOVE AND MEMORY by Lina Kostenko, translated by Stephen Komarnyckyj

CROW STUDY by Yuri Andrukhovych, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

UNTITLED POEM by Serhiy Zhadan, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

UNTITLED POEM by Ludmila Khersonsky, translated by Maya Chhabra

UNTITLED POEM by Iryna Vikyrchak

From THE ANDROMEDA NEBULA by Anna Gréki, translated by Souheila Haïmiche and Cristina Viti

TEAPOT by Nurduran Duman, translated by Andrew Wessels

IT’S COMING AGAIN by Michael Strunge, translated by Paul Russell Garrett

REPORT FROM ANOTHER CITY by Marcin Niewirowicz, translated by the Author

INTERIOR by Ana Blandiana, translated by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea

THIS IS LOVE by Joanna Fligiel, translated by Anna Blasiak

REVELATION IN H&M by Menno Wigman, translated by David Colmer

*** (I WANT TO FOLD THIS DAY) by Inga Pizāne, translated by Jayde Will

THE SIEGE by Marcin Świetlicki, translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

FISH by Jana Putrle Srdić, translated by Barbara Jurša

THE WELL by Maarja Pärtna, translated by Jayde Will

THE SHADOW by Pentti Saarikoski, translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah

A FAREWELL TO MY DEAD CLASS by Irit Amiel, translated by Anna Blasiak and Marta Dziurosz

THE GIRLS IN BERGEN-BELSEN by Nora Gomringer, translated by Annie Rutherford

DECEMBER, by Jaume Subirana, translated by Christopher Whyte

ROSE RED, by Ulrike Almut Sandig, translated by Karen Leeder

*** (I D[R]IPPED MY PEN…) by Mario Martín Gijón, translated by Terence Dooley

WHAT COMES by Magda Cârneci, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Mădălina Bănucu

TRANSLATION by Justyna Bargielska, translated by Maria Jastrzębska

*** (MY EYES, DENSE NIGHT…) by Gëzim Hajdari, translated by Ian Seed

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