to the book "The complete early poetry collections of Pavlo Tychyna", Lviv, 2000.

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Since Ukrainian literature from the 18th century on has stood in the shadow of the politically more powerful Russian culture, few Ukrainian writers have achieved the international renown of their Russian counterparts. Nikolai Gogol ("Hohol" in Ukrainian) and Taras Shevchenko best exemplify the two divergent paths that have been open to Ukrainian writers. Gogol chose to become assimilated into Russian culture and achieved international fame, while Shevchenko preferred to write almost exclusively in Ukrainian, which led to his becoming the national bard of his homeland with less of an international reputation than Gogol. Nonetheless, the West, to at least some degree, still has been aware of Shevchenko's stature since he always has been compared favorably to his Romantic contemporaries Adam Mickiewicz and Alexander Pushkin. Gogol, though, it must also be noted, wrote in prose (albeit a highly poetic prose), a genre much more accessible than poetry to the Western reader in translation.

The general neglect of Ukrainian writers in world literature partly is a result of tsarist and, during the Soviet period, Stalinist politics.' While Europe was recovering from the ravages of World War I, the newly formed Soviet Union was rebuilding from the war, revolution, and civil war. The free Ukrainian National Republic survived from 1918 to 1921. Rather than oppressively stifling the assimilated Ukrainian lands, Lenin and the Bolsheviks chose to harness the resurgent Ukrainian nationalism to their advantage in building a new Soviet state. The 1920s saw a great renewal of Ukrainian culture under Lenin's New Economic Policy. Besides economic reforms geared to resuscitate a devastated economy, the period allowed for the relatively unrestrained development of the Ukrainian language and literature. This era marked the beginning of the transformation of a relatively uneducated and primarily agrarian population to an educated urban one, with concomitant cultural development. The Ukrainian language was no longer banned in print as it was during tsarist times. A Ukrainian press nourished. A great amount of cultural activity took place, and numerous trend setters emerged in the arts, most notably the prose writers Mykola Khvylovy and Valerian Pidmohylny, the playwright Mykola Kulish, the filmmaker Alexander Dovzhenko. the theatrical director Les Kurbas with his experimental Berezil Theater, and a number of others. The twenties particularly marked the development of a highly innovative poetry in Ukrainian belle-lettres, spanning from the Neoclassicist verse of Maksym Rylsky to the highly intellectual poetry of Mykola Bazhan. Pavlo Tychyna entered this period first as a Symbolist who, like his Russian counterparts Blok and Soloviev, predicted the appearance of Divine Sophia after a bloody conflagration. Once Tychyna saw the reality of the bloodshed of revolution and civil war, he rejected it as the destruction of human values.

These varied Ukrainian artists and literati continued the spirit of experimentation that was formulated in the visual arts by such Kyivbom artists as Casimir Malevich and Alexander Archipenko. This experimentation, of course, paralleled artistic advancements in Europe and Russia—championed by such figures as Pablo Picasso, George Braque, Paul Klee. and Vassily Kandinsky. But the experimentation in Soviet Ukraine was short lived. Following the death of Lenin, Stalin crushed the cultural revival. The emigre scholar Yuri Lavrinenko has aptly designated this period of the late twenties and thirties in Soviet Ukraine as the "executed renaissance." Stalin instituted a policy ofrussification and brutally attacked the intelligentsia with arrests and executions. Then he proceeded to assault the agrarian population in the early 1930s with an artificially induced famine that killed over seven million peasants. The repercussions of the terror were felt throughout all of Soviet Ukrainian society, both in human and in cultural terms. The leader of the Ukrainian communist party Mykola Skrypnyk committed suicide as did Khvylovy. Pidmohylny, Kulish, and Kurbas were arrested and later died in Siberian labor camps. The few leading figures who survived were forced to compromise their principles and to acquiesce to the demands of the state. Tychyna was one who managed to survive, in part, by acquiescing.

Pavlo Tychyna (1891 -1967) is acclaimed as one of the leading Ukrainian poets of the modem period. His name invariably surfaces along with Mykola Bazhan, Maksym Rylsky, and Bohdan Ihor Antonych as the most brilliant Ukrainian poets of the twentieth century. One critic assesses him as a "unique innovator in poetic expression" and "one of the most outstanding Ukrainian poets of this century." Another considers him a "bold innovator, supreme master of his craft, ...and a poet of the first magnitude.'"1 Various sources proiifically attest to Tychyna's poetic ability. For example, the leading Russian literary reference work, the Brief Literary Encyclopedia, refers to the "mastery of the poet-innovator" Tychyna, whose verse exhibits "musicality, richness of rhythm, [and] an organic fusion of symbolic and impressionist poetic devices with the folk song."5 The now somewhat dated Biobibliographical Dictionary of Ukrainian Writers from the 1960s contains a list of more than twenty-five pages of Soviet-period critical works on him. A twelve-volume Soviet collected works edition of Tychyna appeared in the 1980s. And the monographs, critical articles, and memoirs by Ukrainian writers and literary critics continue to be produced at a steady pace. An unexpurgated version of his early works finally was published in Kyiv in 1990. There can be no doubt of Tychyna's prominence in his native culture, yet little is known of this brilliant poet in the West.

Tychyna's virtuosity and innovativeness should have brought him to the forefront of world literature in his time with his European contemporaries like T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Rainer Maria Rilke, Anna Akhmatova, and Federico Garcia Lorca. Yet few in the English-speaking world have been made aware of his talent and accomplishments. It is time for this situation to be at least partly rectified and for Tychyna to take his rightful place in the history of world poetry. While poets in the western tradition are all-too-often treated as aesthetes who write for a limited intellectual audience, poets (even in the modem period) in the Slavic tradition are honored with great reverence. They are often venerated as prophets and spokespersons for an entire nation or people, and the poetic word is treated as sacred. Much of Tychyna's early poetry fits the prophetic modality.

Tychyna's Instead of Sonnets and Octaves (1920) has been a work that far transcended an audience of merely literary criticsand other poets. It influenced succeeding generations of readers to re-evaluate the revolution. Tychyna is less ambiguous about the nature and effects of the revolution than his Russian counterpart Alexander Blok, the author of The Twelve: Tychyna damns the violent law of the beast and calls for a return to spiritual and cultural values. The revolution is not the kind of "music" that Blok perceives in his poem, but rather a means for destruction of the true spirit of music, of culture.

Besides extraordinary poetic virtuosity in technique, Tychyna's poetry expresses great philosophical depth and feeling. Tychyna introduced a new genre into Ukrainian poetry—the tragic lyric, based on elements of Ancient Greek verse. Tychyna's early work has had an enormous impact on the development of twentieth-century Ukrainian poetry, and his collections provide a microcosm of the cultural and historical events in Ukraine during the turbulent period of the 1917 revolution and its aftermath. One can observe the emotional impact of those times on Tychyna, who, in his poetry, strove to reconcile himself with the seemingly cosmic forces unleashed by the revolution. In this respect, he shares a distinct affinity with Blok. Tychyna's poetry spans the development from a neo-Skovorodian religious philosopher and proponent of "Clarinetism" in his early works, to a troubled panegyrist of the Soviet regime after the publication of his collection Chemihiv in 1931. Tychyna coined the term "Clarinetism" (Kliarnetyzm) to describe his verse: the term finds a partial counterpart in the Russian poet Mikhail Kuzmin's concept ofklariyn (a sense of clarity and surface simplicity). Kuzmin rejected the density and opaqueness of Russian Symbolism in favor of a poetry grounded in a refreshingly simple and accessible style. Tychyna strove to create a poetry that fuses stylistic clarity with the pure and haunting sound of the clarinet. In light of Tychyna's musicality and close ties to the earth, the emigre poet Vasyl Barka has described Tychyna as a "tillennan's Orpheus" (khliborobs'kyi Orfei), which fits aptly John Fizer has also noted Tychyna's close affinity with Walt Whitman's cosmism, particularly in the collection In the Orchestra of the Cosmos* Tychyna surely had read Whitman in Kornei Chukovsky's Russian translation, which may have been a strong influence on Tychyna's shift to a more prosaic poetry in Instead of Sonnets and Octaves and in parts of Wind from Ukraine (1924).

Tychyna was saved from the grim fate of some two-thirds of the Ukrainian intellectual community in the 1930s by his acquiescence to Stalinis! literary requirements. His burgeoning fame also aided considerably in his survival. Yet the spirit of the Christian philosopher-poet Hryhory Skovoroda followed him throughout his life, culminating in his never completed lifelong project—the book-length long poem Skovoroda. Tychyna's poetry provides a concise compendium of the history of Soviet Ukrainian culture from the early idealism of the revolution to the Civil War and ite aftermath. The poems give a sensitive glimpse into the milieu of Soviet Ukraine of the 1920s, which reflects the cultural renaissance that occurred during the period of Gorbachev's reforms as well as after Ukrainian independence in 1991.

The translation of Tychyna's poetry poses a number of specific problems since cultural, literary, and historical references abound. Tychyna was a renaissance man who exhibited an expert knowledge of Russian and European literatures, as well as the literature of antiquity. In order better to understand Tychyna, first and foremost one should look at the philosophical sources from which Tychyna draws—most importantly the eighteenth-century Ukrainian philosopher Skovoroda- As a Christian nature poet and in a sense a "sun worshiper" (the sun being a symbol of the illuminating force of God), Skovoroda provided a partial source for the generating force and half the title of Tychyna's first published collection, Clarinets of Ihe Sun (Soniashni Kliarnety, 1918). The cover illustration to that volume, a sunflower, visually creates the image of a clarinet, thus creating a representation of the metaphorical fusion of sight and sound so prevalent in Tychyna's early work. Skovoroda, in his philosophy, divided the world into the macrocosmic and the microcosmicthe latter comprising the inner human world. At the center of the macrocosmic world lies the sun, the source of light and life. instead of Sonnets and Octaves opens with that Skovorodian burst of solar energy and specifically incorporates elements of Skovoroda's "Nineteenth Song" from his Garden of Divine Songs.

Linguistically, Tychyna's poetry causes many difficulties forthe translator. Influenced in part by Dadaism and the Russian Futurists, especially in his early poetry, Tychyna makes extensive use of paronomasia. The titled segment of Instead of Sonnets and Octaves that I translate as "Rock-a," as part of the formulaic rock-a-bye liuli-liuli, provides a prime example. The Ukrainian original is Liu, which, besides being part of the locution suggesting a child's lullaby, is also the typical first person singular ending of Ukrainian verbs. It also forms the reduplicated component for the Ukrainian word liubliu, meaning "I love." Throughout this entire section of the poem Tychyna makes use of assonances and alliterations, playing on the sounds "I," "iu" and "o." The poem "Fomarina" provides another excellent illustration of Tychyna's paronomastic play: in it sounds take on meanings of their very own. This aspect of his poetry is sometimes lost in translation. I do try to convey Tychyna's musicality whenever it can be done naturally in English, but for the full effect of this profound feature of his poetry, one should read him in the original.

The translations here are based on the following edition: Pavlo Tychyna, Soniachni klamely: poeyi (Kyiv: Dnipro Publishers, 1990). This particular volume comprises the first completely unexpurgated edition of Tychyna's early works to be published in Ukraine since the original publications in the early pan of the 20th century. I have decided to translate Tychyna's first five books in their entirety for this volume, since this marks Tychyna's most fertile lyrical period before he began to write in the government-imposed fashion of socialist realism. These collections include: Soniashni kiamety (Clarinets of the Sun, 1918), Pluh (The Plow, 1920), Zamist' sonetiv i oktav (Instead of Sonnets and Octaves, 1920), Vkosmichnomu orkestri (In the Orchestra of the Cosmos, 1921), and Viter z Ukrainy (Wind from Ukraine, 1924). Certain of my translations are more successful in English than others, but I have decided to publish them in their entirety in order to maintain the integrity of the collections.

By any measure these translations cannot even begin to convey the totality ofTychyna's talent. Some sound elements in the original texts are virtually untranslatable in English, so I have opted in favor of restraint over exactness in conveying the musicality and rhythm. I have toned down a bit of what critics have called Tychyna's "infantilism," a completely childlike vision of the world, since this is a feature less readily accessible to readers of English. It is my hope that others will use these translations as a springboard to attempt more finely tuned poetic versions of the poems.

By Michael M. Naydan

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