Karmansky, Petro

Karmansky, Petro [Карманський, Петро; Karmans’kyj] (pseuds: Petro Hirky, Les Mohylnytsky), b 29 May 1878 in Chesaniv, Galicia, d 16 April 1956 in Lviv. Poet, civic leader, and journalist. Karmansky was a prominent member of the modernist group Moloda Muza, and his early collections of poetryZ teky samovbyvtsia (From the Briefcase of a Suicide, 1899), Oi liuli smutku (Sleep Sadness, Sleep, 1906), Bludni vohni (Will-o-the-Wisp, 1907), Plyvem pomoriu t'my (We Sail on the Sea of Darkness, 1909), and Al fresco (1917)—reflect the typical fin-de-siècle ennui and pessimism of the modernist poets throughout Europe. His particular idiom is characterized by the frequent use of religious imagery—an influence of his studies at the Ukrainian Catholic seminary Collegio Rutheno in Rome—and the often satiric tone provoked by the estrangement between the brooding modernist poet and ‘callous’ society. Discontent did not leave him even when he tried to work within the needs of the society by being a high-school teacher, then a representative in the diplomatic missions of the Western Ukrainian National Republic to Rome, the United States, Canada, and Brazil, and finally an editor (1922–5). After the Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine, Karmansky lectured at Lviv University and wrote two collections distinguished by their official optimism: Do sontsia (Toward the Sun, 1941) and Po iasnii dorozi (On the Bright Road, 1952). Karmansky was also a proficient translator. Of his numerous translations (primarily from Italian) The Divine Comedy (translated together with Maksym Rylsky) is the most ambitious. Toward the end of his life he wrote memoirs of his experiences abroad as well as virulent attacks against Ukrainian ‘bourgeois nationalists’ and the Vatican.

Liashkevych, P. Petro Karmans'kyi: Narys zhyttia i tvorchosti (Lviv 1998)

Danylo Husar Struk

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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