Daryna Gladun

- Ukraine -

Daryna Gladun (1993) is a Ukrainian writer, translator, performance artist and researcher. She is the author of 4 poetry collections: To Chop the Tree (2017), the winner of SmoloskypLiterary Prize; From the Shadow of Handsome Red Boys (2020), named one of the best poetry books of 2020 by PEN Ukraine; Radio "War" (2022), translated into Polish and Montenegrin; The war doesn't start tomorrow (2023), translated into Swedish. Gladun is co-translator of a book by Valzhyna Mort, two anthologies of Belarusian literature, and one libretto. She is a laureate of numerous literary contests, a recipient of fellowships from the President of Ukraine, International Writers’ and Translators’ House, House of Europe, Staromiejski House of Culture, Potsdam University, Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Leslie Center for Humanities at Dartmouth College. Her works have been translated into dozens of languages and published in numerous Ukrainian and International magazines and anthologies. 

Yurii Kovaliv, a Ukrainian poet, critic, and professor, writes about the works of Daryna Gladun: "In Daryna's texts, unexpected metamorphoses, which cause associations with surrealist visions and folk paintings, have an intermedial basis and an internal semantic connection, allowing the lyrical heroine to get closer to transcendental truths that are inaccessible to direct perception through the weaving of elaborate metaphors. These poems resemble mandalas, created from disparate elements that flow into each other, preserving the unity of diversity and ontological integrity. Daryna Gladun, unfolding the lyrical-epic canvas of the dramatic present, chose the appropriate free verse form. Unrhymed, unevenly accented lines of poetry reveal the pulsation of a leisurely lyrical narrative, which often sharpens the tempo, in particular, when it comes to tragic events. These transitions are accompanied by intonation and graphic changes, in particular cadences. In this case, the lyrical plot, with constant gradational spiraling, ends with a cathartic denouement. The flexible segmentation of free verse lines not only ensures the expression of semantic formants but also reproduces the course of natural speech, although the poet sometimes resorts to occasional hints of syllabic and tonic. Sometimes the poetic text is supplemented with various graphemes (|, –, [, ], ˃, {, }, etc.), which perform the function of additional (nuanced) semantic fillings in situations of elliptical niches, anaphoric gradations, accentuation of one or another thought. In Daryna Gladun's poems, a strong pulsation of the leitmotif of existence on the edge, which is so palpable in the present, is felt. The author not only reveals the world in its entirety to the reader but also, turning to the memory of past generations, shows the strength and durability of the Ukrainian people." 


Maryna Odnorog, a Ukrainian writer and critic, emphasizes: "Daryna Gladun's special style is that her poetry is always performative. Therefore, here you can find musical notes, the melody of Ukrainian Radio, or the national anthem of Ukraine. These poems are worth reading and listening to."


Oleh Kotsarev, a Ukrainian writer and critic, writes this about Daryna Gladun's works: "Daryna Gladun's poems are characterized by formalistic conceptuality, thoughtful and meaningful structural construction. This can be connected with traditions at the junction of high modernism and avant-garde. Rhythm and specific musicality play an important role in her poems. It is easy to notice the poet's dedication to archetypal images and symbolic layers of meaning. The poet also pays due tribute to more "pure", and "aesthetic" metaphors, as well as to the tradition of "narrative", and plot. Daryna Gladun's style is more than recognizable extremely coherent, and self-sufficient. It should be noted that, at the same time her poetry relies on a fairly wide arsenal of means, techniques, and ideas. Her texts are sometimes free verse "epic" stories (with a family epic, military motifs, etc.), and sometimes metaphorical works. At times texts are very rhythmic. Daryna’s poems are at times down to the magical mood and structure, all combined with special attention to graphics, various signs, the placement of words on the page, and other purely visual effects. Daryna Gladun is a rhythmic and musical poet (who writes free verses). Her texts are a kind of modern ritual verbal magic."


Anđela Radovanović, a Montenegrin poet and translator, writes: "The way Darina Gladun writes makes us perceive her poetry as a living organism that grows, swells, pulsates, and hurts with the living wounds of her country's suffering."


Daryna Gladun: “I am a poet. I am a feminist. I am Ukrainian. That is how I used to describe myself before February 24, 2022. Now I speak of myself as a Ukrainian first.

Many people do not realize that I also am a war refugee. My fleeing involved hitchhiking, walking, evacuation trains, and busses. People who meet me now, see me as an Ivy League college student. As a person who “made it.” But I didn’t. I am still in the survival mode stuck between war and peace. Unable to live my life as I feel the co-presence of war wherever I go.

Writing poetry is how I survive and preserve my identity. Writing poetry is how I fight entropy. Writing poetry is how I save my homeland.”