Author: Yuri Izdryk
Translators: Roman Ivashkiv and Erin Moure
Publisher: Lost Horse Press (2019)
Yuri Izdryk's poetry explodes with existential contemplations and addresses regarding love, identity, nature, society, and even God. All his poems operate with an indefatigable play with language that encompasses incessant punning rhymes, Joycean multilingual puns, ludic shifts of tone and register, and scintillating intertextual games. In creating a sophisticated semantic soundscape where sound drives meaning, Izdryk impishly reinvigorates the rhyming tradition in Ukrainian poetry, which only recently has leaned towards free verse. To a North American reader, the poems—which are all short riffs—evoke styles of rap, hip-hop, or jazz. Largely letting go of the rhymes, the translators of this selection of Izdryk's work emphasize his zany rhythms to capture his deft play with both modernity and tradition, and his vigorous gallows humor. In Izdryk, linguistic dexerity is the roll of the dice that, though it can't vanquish apocalyptic despair, can keep its desolation at bay.