Poetry Travels: Ukraine. CROW STUDY by Yuri Andrukhovych, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

so much in this world is unreal
we’re looking for a solid earthly base
a december beer near the cathedral 
and a gray day hums bossa nova

thaw like a tear towers over the city 
buses arrive and depart
and in our ornate ceramic mugs
sways a bitter amber offering

we long so deeply for this warmth
like a frozen plexus of grapes
these crows are little black angels
they gather a black council on the pediment

and in the melting snow a mixture
of sand and salt heavy earthly measures
and we breathe warmth into cold mugs
and watch the way the black wings flap

By Yuri Andrukhovych

Translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin


Yuri Andrukhovych is one of the most prominent and influential Ukrainian poets. He has published more than a dozen poetry collections, fiction books, and collections of essays, and his work has been translated into many languages. A recipient of various awards including the Herder Prize (2001), the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize (2005), the Leipzig Book Prize for Understanding (2006), the Angelus Prize (2006), the Hannah Arendt Prize (2014), and the Goethe Medal (2016), Andrukhovych lives and works in Ivano-Frankivsk.


John Hennessy is the author of two collections of poems, Bridge and Tunnel and Coney Island Pilgrims. He is the co-translator, with Ostap Kin, of A New Orthography, selected poems by Serhiy Zhadan, finalist for the PEN America Award for Poetry in Translation and co-winner of the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry, and the anthology Babyn Yar: Ukrainian Poets Respond, part of the new Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature (HUP). He is the poetry editor of The Common and teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Ostap Kin is the editor, and co-translator with John Hennessy, of Babyn Yar: Ukrainian Poets Respond (forthcoming from Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute), the editor of New York Elegies, and the co-translator, with John Hennessy, of Serhiy Zhadan’s A New Orthography, finalist for the PEN America Award for Poetry in Translation and co-winner of the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry. He co-translated, with Vitaly Chernetsky, Yuri Andrukhovych’s Songs for a Dead Rooster.


Photo by Lisa Kalloo


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


Read previous poems from Poetry Travels:

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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