Thriving in Isolation: the Poetry of Vasyl Stus. Thursday 9 April.

DATE & TIME: Thursday 9 April, 7pm

Register via Zoom here.

The event is free. We suggest a voluntary donation of £5 for those able to support the Institute. Donations can be made via JustGiving.

Join us to dive into the extraordinary poetry of Soviet Ukrainian dissident Vasyl Stus, and to hear about how Stus thrived in his creative writing, despite enduring isolation in the Soviet gulag.

Today, across the world we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation: global pandemic, personal isolation. In these troubling times, the arts can offer a life-saving outlet, and there are few better examples of the power of poetry than the experiences of Soviet Ukrainian dissident poet Vasyl Stus.

Stus spent more than ten years of his life in isolation in the Soviet gulag, repeatedly enduring solitary confinement, with never a glimpse of a better knowable future or tangible prospect of freedom. Yet he continued his intensive creative work: writing and translating, and even managing to complete his magnum opus Palimpsests, one of the most sophisticated Ukrainian poetry collections of the twentieth century. Stus transcended his physical circumstances by investing his soul in his work, and his experience remains a testament to how poetry and the arts, but also our personal vocations, can help us overcome the confines of solid walls and embattled psyches.

Bohdan Tokarsky, Cambridge scholar in Ukrainian Studies, will give a close reading of some of Stus’s seminal poems, interspersed with background on Stus’s experience of surviving -- and even thriving -- in isolation. Join us for this extraordinary opportunity to explore the healing powers of poetry!

This webinar is the first event as part of a new series, The Power of Poetry.

The event will be held in English, but referring to poetry in the original Ukrainian (with English translation also provided).

If you have any issues registering for the event via Zoom, please email Maria Montague at montague@ukrainianinstitute.org.

Speaker bio:

Bohdan Tokarsky is an Affiliated Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies at the University of Cambridge, who has recently completed his doctoral thesis on the poetry of Vasyl Stus. He is a literary scholar, writer and translator.