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eugene ostashevsky

Yevgenia Belorusets: Two stories from Fortunate Fallings

Yevgenia Belorusets: Two stories from Fortunate Fallings

A feature by Yevgenia Belorusets

Yevgenia Belorusets is a Ukrainian photographer who lives between Kyiv and Berlin. Her photographic work calls attention to the more vulnerable sections of Ukrainian society: queer families, out-of-work coal miners, the Roma, people living in the warzone in the East. She has just published a book of stories called Fortunate Fallings, about women living in the shadow of the now-frozen, now-thawing conflict in the Ukrainian East, the result of Russian military intervention after the Kyiv Maidan of 2014. The book’s linguistic eclecticism—the stories are in Russian but the publisher and packaging are Ukrainian—silently defies hardline cultural propaganda in both countries. Apart from being political, Fortunate Fallings is also an astonishingly intelligent, moving, and exquisitely written work of ironic European literature. The publishing house Matthes & Seitz will issue it in Germany in the fall; meanwhile, we have translated two stories from it into English, as well as asking the Russian writer Maria Stepanova to review the whole. . .

Eugene Ostashevsky Introduces Three Poems by Galina Rymbu

Eugene Ostashevsky Introduces Three Poems by Galina Rymbu

I first came across the young Russian poet Galina Rymbu shortly after she posted a poem on LiveJournal the day that Russian troops started operating in Crimea, and several days after the victory of the Maidan Revolution in Kyiv and the tawdry close of the Sochi Olympics. Russian media fanned the flames of patriotic hysteria and the Kremlin was clearly going to exploit Maidan to crack down on domestic dissent. It felt strange that a work of this artistic sophistication and power could be composed and posted on the Web simultaneously with the events it responded to. Its viewpoint was that of the minuscule and very young Russian Left—roughly the same political alignment as those of the poet-activist Kirill Medvedev and of Pussy Riot, to cite figures known to some Western readers. But the poetry was different. It was Big Poetry, very much grounded in tradition but also propelling it forward, into the terra incognita of the now. It’s been a while I read a poem that felt so real . . .