Ukrainian American Poets Respond

I was honored to share the stage with so many talented writers at the Ukrainian American Poets Respond launch last weekend. Our poems were a cry for justice, a prayer for peace, a call for remembrance, and a demand to be seen and heard.

Thank you to Olena Jennings and Virlana Tkaczfor organizing such a powerful event and anthology, and to the Ukrainian Institute of America for allowing us to use their beautiful space to share our poems about Ukraine, the war, our roots and our future.

Here is a link to a facebook folder with some of the photographs from the event: Ukrainian American Poets Respond.

Thank you to everyone who came out, bought the book, showed support, and shared the message.
Short woman in a sundress holding the Ukrainian American Poets Respond anthology in her hands.
Photo by Marco Palmieri, 2022
*** Edited to add links for those who wish to purchase a copy.***

You can order from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ukrainian-American-Poets-Respond-Virlana/dp/1735147869

You can also search Indie Bound to order one from a local bookstore: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781735147864

Words and Witchery: Some References for Slavic Mythology

A tall man in a Mother Christmas t-shirt stands beside a short woman in a Ukrainian embroidered blouse.
Stephen and Valya at Chicon8

Over Labor Day weekend, Stephen and I took the younger two teenagers to their second World Science Fiction Convention: Chicon 8 (San Jose was their first Worldcon in 2019).

Both of us were on panels (usually at the same time), and I was delighted to be on the Slavic Mythology panel with moderator Dr. Jeana Jorgensen, Alex Gurevich, and Alma Alexander. (Unfortunately Alex Shvartsman did not make it to the panel.)

We had a really wonderful and engaged audience, and at the end of our discussion, someone asked for additional references about Slavic Mythology. I agreed to post a list of resources published in English on my blog.

4 masked panelists seated at a table talking with a curtain behind them.
Slavic Mythology panel at Chicon 8.

I’ve done my best to collect them here. I will try to remember to update the post as I acquire new books, or as new media come to my attention.

A small disclaimer: Many books have been published recently about Slavic magic and Baba Yaga. I have not included anything as a nonfiction reference here that I have not personally read and reviewed. Some of the fiction and films, on the other hand, come from other panelists and audience members. I cannot speak to the accuracy of their portrayal or sources.

Nonfiction:

  • Slavic Folklore: A Handbook by Natalie Kononenko
  • Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend
    by Mike Dixon-Kennedy
  • The Bathhouse at Midnight: An Historical Survey of Magic and Divination in Russia by W. F. Ryan
  • Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture by Joanna Hubbs
  • Baba Yaga: The Ambiguous Mother and Witch of the Russian Folktale by Andreas Johns
  • Fairy Tales of the Russians and Other Slavs: Sixty-Eight Stories Edited by Ace G. and Olga A. Pilkington
  • Witchcraft in Russia and Ukraine, 1000–1900: A Sourcebook (NIU Series in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) by Valerie A. Kivelson and Christine D. Worobec
  • Ukrainian Minstrels: Why the Blind Should Sing: And the Blind Shall Sing (Folklores and Folk Cultures of Eastern Europe)
    by Natalie O. Kononenko
  • The Paths of Folklore: Essays in Honor of Natalie Kononenko
    by Svitlana Kukharenko, Peter Holloway
  • The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe: 7000 to 3500 BC myths, legends and cult images by Marija Alseikaitė Gimbutas
  • The Magical Universe: Everyday Ritual and Magic in Pre-Modern Europe by Stephen Wilson

Folklorica: An open-access peer-reviewed journal produced by the Slavic, East European & Eurasian Folklore Association. The Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Folklore Association (SEEFA) is devoted to an exchange of knowledge among scholars interested in Slavic, East European and Eurasian folklore.

Fiction that draws from Slavic mythology:

  • Night Witches by L.J. Adlington
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Shadow and Bone series and Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  • Rusalka, Chernevog, and Yvgenie by C.J. Cherryh
  • The Age of Witches by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • “Viy” by Nikolai Gogol (Mykola Hohol)
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky (translated but difficult to find)
  • The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu
  • Sticks & Bones: Home Is Where the Hearth Is (comic) by Valya Dudycz Lupescu & Madeline Carol Matz
  • Uprooted and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia
  • Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Forest Song by Lesya Ukrainka (play, translated by Percival Cundy)
  • Mesopotamia by Serhiy Zhadan

Television & Film

  • American Gods (Starz)
  • Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965 – Ukrainian: Тіні забутих предків, directed by Sergei Parajanov)
  • The Witcher (Netflix)

Articles:

A stack of books topped by a Baba Yaga figurine.

“Ukrainian American Poets Respond” Book Launch

It has been 197 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukrainians are still fighting.

Every morning, I check Twitter to see the updates from Ukrainian journalists, activists, artists, and writers that I follow. There is always news: Here is the devastation and sacrifice. Here is the heroism and resilience. Слава Україні!

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian diaspora tries to collect resources, rally support, and share the stories, names, and photographs to help the Ukrainian people and keep the world from forgetting.

On Friday, September 16, I will join other Ukrainian American poets for a reading at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City.

We will be reading our poems from the “Ukrainian American Poets Respond” anthology edited by Olena Jennings (Poets of Queens) and Virlana Tkacz (Yara Arts Group).

I am honored to have my poems included in this collection, and I hope that some of you will be able to come out on the 16th:

Tickets for the Ukrainian American Poets Respond Book Launch

Ukrainian American Poets Respond Book Launch Information on Facebook

You can also order a copy on Amazon or from an Independent Bookstores near you.

Слава Україні! Slava Ukraini!