“[A]n extraordinary work within the literary canon of the Holocaust.” —Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work
With The Voices of Babyn Yar—a collection of stirring poems by Marianna Kiyanovska—the award-winning Ukrainian poet honors the victims of the Holocaust by writing their stories of horror, death, and survival by projecting their own imagined voices. Artful and carefully intoned, the poems convey the experiences of ordinary civilians going through unbearable events leading to the massacre at Kyiv’s Babyn Yar from a first-person perspective to an effect that is simultaneously immersive and estranging. While conceived as a tribute to the fallen, the book raises difficult questions about memory, responsibility, and commemoration of those who had witnessed an evil that verges on the unspeakable.
There is no doubt that The Voices of Babyn Yar is destined to become a classic text in the Ukrainian canon. Will this poetry save nations or people? Of course not. But it will forever serve as a reminder of the human capacity for evil—a prompt we seem to require on a regular basis.
Kiyanovska has collected the imaginary testimony of individuals entwined in these unspeakable atrocities. Now they speak…Paradoxically, because the poems are presented as poetic communications, permeated with interjections from the poet herself, they do not further rend the fabric of reality, but have an utter authenticity that can only be explained by vision.
In a translation that nudges close to the linguistic breaking points of the original, while retaining the fullness of its poetic registers and plethora of references to Ukrainian, Jewish, Soviet, and Western contexts, the seasoned translators-cum-poets Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky draw attention to an extraordinary work within the literary canon of the Holocaust.
In 2017, the poet Marianna Kiyanovska published her collection Babyn Yar: Holosamy. It has now been translated by Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rozochinsky in a virtuosic English version…[The] poems include a discussion of the Nazi genocide, Soviet revisionist history, and recent conversations about identity and citizenship.
- 2023, Winner of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work
- 2023, Winner of the Peterson Literary Fund Translated Book Award
- 192 pages
- 5 x 8 inches
- Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute
- Introduction by Polina Barskova
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