Psol, Oleksandra

Psol, Oleksandra [Псьол, Олександра; Ps'ol], b 1817 in Psolivka (now Psilske), Myrhorod county, Poltava gubernia, d 27 October 1887 in Moscow. Poet; sister of Hlafira Psol. She lived and studied in Yahotyn, with the family of Nikolai Repnin, where she met Taras Shevchenko (1843–4). She later corresponded with him and sent him her poetry when he was in exile. Shevchenko favorably judged some of her early poetry (eg, ‘Sviachena voda’ [Holy Water]). Her poetic cycle, Try sl'ozy divchyny (Three Tears of a Girl), was published in the almanac Khata (Saint Petersburg) (1860). The cycle included the poems ‘Zaplakala Ukraïna’ (Ukraine Began to Cry), ‘Oi, koly b ia holos soloveika mala’ (Oh, If I Had the Voice of a Nightingale), and ‘Viie viter nad Kyievom’ (The Wind Blows over Kyiv). Her poetry is marked by patriotic motifs (eg, protests over the dissolution of the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood). One poem, ‘Ne pytai ty moïkh pisen’’ (Don’t Ask My Songs), was erroneously attributed to Shevchenko and was published in some editions of his Kobzar.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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