A Flight Over the Black Sea
Author: Ihor Pavlyuk
Translator: Steve Komarnyckyj
Original language: Ukrainian
Published by: Waterloo Press, 2014
Ihor Pavlyuk invites us to roam the forests of Ukraine with him while swigging vodka from a hip flask and watching pagan gods flicker among the birches. These poems combine beautifully-wrought metaphors, transforming a shooting star into ‘candlelight glimpsed through water’ with an ancient landscape inhabited by pagan gods. Pavlyuk abandoned his studies at the St. Petersburg Military University to pursue a career as a poet, and was jailed as a result, prior to embarking on a life of rhyme. Pavlyuk’s work has been translated into several languages including English, French, Polish, Russian and Japanese. However, Pavlyuk remains rooted in Ukraine and remains one of Europe’s most versatile poets - quite literally: he recently delivered an entire reading stood on his head. These poems contain moments delicate as snowflakes: ‘The fragrance of crushed mint at dusk,/ The leaves yearning to fall/ Before the snow comes’. The sweet yearning of this poetry will remain with you long after you have turned the final page.