Zabuzhko, Oksana

Image - Oksana Zabuzhko

Zabuzhko, Oksana, b 19 September 1960 in Lutsk. (Photo: Oksana Zabuzhko.) Poet, writer, and literary critic. Zabuzhko graduated from the Department of Philosophy at Kyiv University in 1987. In 1992 and 1994 she traveled to the United States as a visiting writer and taught briefly at Penn State University, Harvard University, and the University of Pittsburgh. She works at the Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Zabuzhko debuted as a poet with a collection Travnevyi inii (May Frost) in 1985 and was soon recognized as an important new voice of the generation of poets later referred to as visimdesiatnyky (Eightiers). Her later books of poetry include Dyryhent ostannioi svichky (A Conductor of the Last Candle, 1990), Avtostop (Hitchhiking, 1994), and Novyi zakon Arkhimeda (Archemides’s New Law, 2000); her selected poems were published in the book Druha sproba (Second Attempt) in 2005. She has also translated some verses by Sylvia Plath, Marie Howe, Lucie Brock-Broido, Sue Standing, and Czesław Miłosz into Ukrainian. Zabuzhko became particularly popular as the author of prose works explicitly addressing the themes of sexuality and women’s issues in the Ukrainian society, often presented from the feminist point of view. Her novel Poliovi doslidzhennia z ukraïns’koho seksu (Field Work in Ukrainian Sex, 1996) brought her popular acclaim. Her other prose works include Kazka pro kalynovu sopilku (A Fairy Tale about a Viburnum Flute, 2000) and Sestro, sestro (Sister, Sister, 2003). Zabuzhko has also made a notable contribution to the Ukrainian literary and cultural scholarship. Her non-fiction books include her studies of Ivan Franko (Filosofiia ukraïns’koi idei ta ievropeis’kyi kontekst: Frankivs’kyi period [The Philosophy of the Ukrainian National Idea and the European Context: Franko Period, 1992]), Taras Shevchenko (Shevchenkiv mif Ukraïny [Shevchenko’s Myth of Ukraine, 1997]), and Lesia Ukrainka (Notre Dame d’Ukraine: Ukraïnka v konflikti mifolohii (Notre Dame d’Ukraine: Ukrainka in the Conflict of Mythologies, 2007]), as well as books of essays Khroniky vid Fortinbrasa (The Fortinbras Chronicles, 1999) and Let my people go. 15 tekstiv pro ukraïns’ku revoliutsiiu (Let My People Go: Fifteen Texts about the Ukrainian Revolution, 2005). Zabuzhko’s works have been translated into several languages. The English edition of her poems and essays appeared in Toronto as A Kingdom of Fallen Statues in 1996 and an English translation of her story Divchatka was published as a separate book edition Girls in 2005.

Marko Robert Stech

[This article was written in 1998]

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