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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
  poems by Iryna Shuvalova • translated by Olena Jennings •
  Series Editor: Grace Mahoney

ISBN 978-0-9991994-8-0     $20  /  $24 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5"       

180 pp      
PUB DATE: SEPT 2019       Book Release Featured Poetry


Deeply rooted in Ukraine’s folk culture, Shuvalova’s poetry re-mixes traditional spirituality with pulsating eroticism and an acute awareness of the natural environment. Presented in dual-language format, the poems in this collection offer a long poetic meditation on memory and life’s natural cycles. Each word, like a life force, forms a connective substance that weaves between lines and verses. Though the wells are empty, Shuvalova’s language overflows with rich images, corporeality, and a metaphoric sensibility that reaches across place and time and reverberates as a prayer against ancient stone.

Iryna Shuvalova reading from her book, Pray to the Empty Wells (Click on title to hear poems)


About the Author

poems by Iryna Shuvalova • translated by Olena Jennings •

Shuvalova Iryna Shuvalova is a poet, translator and scholar from Kyiv, Ukraine. She has authored three poetry collections in Ukrainian—Ran, Os and Az—winning some of the country’s top awards for poetry, including, in 2010, the first 1st place in the Smoloskyp Poetry Prize awarded in ten years. Her fourth book of poems is forthcoming in 2020 with The Old Lion Publishing House in Lviv. Iryna’s translations from Ukrainian and Russian appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation and Words without Borders among others, while her own poetry has been widely anthologized in Ukraine and translated into nine languages beyond. In 2009, she also co-edited the first anthology of queer writing in Ukrainian translation, 120 Pages of ‘Sodom.’ In 2012, she was awarded the Joseph Brodsky / Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation. Having previously earned her MA in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College on a Fulbright scholarship, she is now a PhD student and a Gates Cambridge scholar at the University of Cambridge where she studies communities affected by the War in Donbas, Ukraine through the prism of war songs.


into the sweet orchard

you will go, woman, into the sweet orchard
a bone through a throat
a chunk of clay that melts
slowly burying yourself
in the dark pond of his body

you’ll go as if into a river
first—a large fish
with a white belly full of dreams
second—a bloody berry
a closed fist full of bitter seeds
third—an empty jar
with a narrow neck full of song

each time you enter you won’t have a name
each time you enter you’ll carry a mouthful of names
you’ll swallow them beyond the gates
so that again you won’t have any
so that you can return

—Iryna Shuvalova