In 2021, the world commemorates the 80th anniversary of the massacres of Jews at Babyn Yar. The present collection brings together for the first time the responses to the tragic events of September 1941 by Ukrainian Jewish and non-Jewish poets of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, presented here in the original and in English translation by Ostap Kin and John Hennessy. Written between 1941 and 2018 by over twenty poets, these poems belong to different literary canons, traditions, and time frames, while their authors come from several generations. Together, the poems in Babyn Yar: Ukrainian Poets Respond create a language capable of portraying the suffering and destruction of the Ukrainian Jewish population during the Holocaust as well as other peoples murdered at the site.
Ostap Kin is the translator and editor of the anthology New York Elegies, which won the American Association for Ukrainian Studies’ Prize for Best Translation, and is the cotranslator of Serhiy Zhadan’s A New Orthography and Yuri Andrukhovych’s Songs for a Dead Rooster. He is Research Center Coordinator at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.
John Hennessy is the author of two poetry collections, Coney Island Pilgrims and Bridge and Tunnel. He is the poetry editor of The Common and is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. With Ostap Kin, Hennessy translated Serhiy Zhadan’s collection A New Orthography, for which they won the John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize for Translation.