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National Poetry Month: Readings by Ukrainian poet Vasyl Makhno with translator Olena Jennings

Saturday, April 29, 2023, 1:00 pm2:00 pm


Saturday, April 29, 2023
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Free with museum admission

Free with Museum Admission

Introduced and moderated by Prof Susan Smith-Peter, College of Staten Island/CUNY

Paper Bridge is the first bilingual collection by Ukrainian poet Vasyl Makhno. Translated by Olena Jennings, this collection of personal poems communicates the present day Ukrainian experience.

In Paper Bridge, Makhno is able to preserve an “enviable spiritual equilibrium…one that grinds out the music even in the toughest of days, a music that survived the twentieth century and keeps alive in the new horrors of the twenty-first,” in the words of Los Angeles Book Prize winner Ilya Kaminsky.

About the Author

Vasyl Makhno is a poet, essayist, and translator. He was born in Chortkiv, western Ukraine, in 1964.  Makhno left Ukraine in the late 1990s, and, after a short time teaching and writing in Poland, ended up in New York, where he still lives. His early work drew on the rich seams of Ukrainian modernism, in particular on the ecstatic and eclectic genius of the interwar poet Bohdan-Ihor Antonych. His trajectory westwards was accompanied by a move away from modernist forms towards a simpler, more outward-looking sensibility. The poet’s eye turned to the strange, new landscapes around him. In New York, he caught the tail end of the activities of the New York Group of post-war Ukrainian émigré poets. His poetry contains fond nods in their direction, but as an immigrant of a different wave, he is more enchanted by New York than his predecessors, and more attuned to its paradoxical mix of local specificity and global reach. Makhno is today surely one of that city’s most dedicated poetic chroniclers, flitting between Chinatown markets and Brooklyn bars – watching, listening and recording. (Read more here)

Makhno is the author of fourteen collections of poetry and most recently the book of poems One Sail House (2021). He has also published a book of short stories, The House in Baiting Hollow (2015), a novel, The Eternal Calendar (2019), and four books of essays, The Gertrude Stein Memorial Cultural and Recreation Park (2006), Horn of Plenty (2011), Suburbs and Borderland (2019), and Biking along the Ocean (2020). Vasyl Makhno’s works have been widely translated into many languages; his books have been published in Germany, Israel, Poland, Romania, Serbia and the US.  Two poetry collections, Thread and Other New York Poems (2009) and Winter Letters (2011), were published in English translation. He is the recipient of  Kovaliv Fund Prize (2008), Serbia’s International Povele Morave Prize in Poetry (2013), the BBC Book of the Year Award (2015), and Ukrainian-Jewish Literary Prize “Encounter” (2020).  Makhno currently lives with his family in New York City. (Read more here)

Book cover of Paper Bridge. A painting of a desk and chair in a room with open door and window looking out to the sea