Translated from the Ukrainian by Askold Melnyczuk and the author
Soul of truth
wash the blindness
from our eyes.
Enter our frailties,
place the leaf of healing
on them, make our bones
howl with immortality.
Heal doubt and pain
and strip the husk
whose drops of light
can dowse our thirst
Bohdan Boychuk (1927–2017) published ten books of poetry in Ukrainian, not including his 2007, two-volume Collected Poems. He was also the author of nine novels; at least eight plays, several of which were gathered in a selected edition in 2013, and many translations from English, Polish, Spanish and Russian. He edited the literary magazines Suchasnist (Modernity; 1961–1973) and Svito-vyd (Worldview; 1990–1999) and co-edited, with Bohdan Rubchak, the major anthology of modern Ukrainian poetry Coordinates. Mark Rudman and David Ignatow translated Memories of Love: The Selected Poems of Bohdan Boychuk, published by Sheep Meadow Press in 1989. In the last decades of his life, Boychuk divided his time between Kiev and Glen Spey, New York.
Askold Melnyczuk is the founding editor of AGNI and contributes a series of essays called “Shadowboxing.” He is professor of creative writing at UMass Boston. Excerpts from his anti-memoir in progress have appeared recently in The Threepenny Review and Epiphany. The Epiphany excerpt, “Turbulence, Love,” was cited as Notable in The Best American Essays 2010. His third novel, The House of Widows (Graywolf Press), won the Editor’s Choice Award from the American Library Association as one of the outstanding books of 2008. His second novel, Ambassador of the Dead (Counterpoint, 2001) was called “exquisite, original” by The Washington Post, and his first, What Is Told (Faber and Faber), was a New York Times Notable Book for 1994.
In 1997 Melnyczuk received a Lila Wallace-Readers’ Digest Award in Fiction. Winner of the McGinnis Award in Fiction, he has also been awarded grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. He has published stories, poems, translations, and reviews in The New York Times, The Nation, The Partisan Review, Grand Street, Ploughshares, AGNI, Poetry, and The Boston Globe. His poems have been included in various anthologies, including The McGraw-Hill Book of Poetry, Literature: The Evolving Canon, and Under 35: The New Generation of American Poets. He has edited three volumes in the Graywolf Take Three Poetry Series, as well as a volume of tributes to Father Daniel Berrigan and a livre d’artiste on painter Gerry Bergstein. He also coedited From Three Worlds: New Writing from Ukraine.
He previously taught at Harvard University, the graduate Bennington Writing Seminars, and Boston University, where he edited AGNI until its thirtieth anniversary year in 2002. A research associate of the Ukrainian Institute at Harvard, he has served on the boards of the New England Poetry Club and PEN New England and has been a fellow of the Boston Foundation. In 2001 he received PEN American Center’s biennial Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing as well as PEN New England’s “Friend to Writers” Award.
Melnyczuk founded AGNI in 1972 as an undergraduate at Antioch College and Arrowsmith Press in 2006. (updated 10/2022)
See him interviewed on New England Authors.