Lesyk Panasiuk

- Ukraine -

Lesyk Panasiuk (1991) is a Ukrainian writer, translator, artist and designer, member of PEN Ukraine. He is the author of 4 poetry collections: Rainstone (2013), the winner of Young Republic of Poets Prize; Real Apple (2014), the winner of Smoloskyp Literary Prize; Screams of Hands (2018), named one of the best poetry book of 2018 by PEN Ukraine, translated into Russian; Scattered faces (2023), translated into Polish. Panasiuk is the co-author of a type of short poetic form Poetry Zhuk. He is translator and co-translator of 4poetry collections, 3 literary anthologies, and 1 libretto. Panasiuk is a laureate of numerous literary and art contests, a recipient of fellowships from the President of Ukraine, International Writers’ and Translators’ House, House of Europe, Staromiejski House of Culture, Shevchenko Scientific Society, Dartmouth College, Literary Colloquium Berlin, PEN Ukraine, Translatorium. His works have been translated into dozens of languages and published in numerous Ukrainian and International magazines and anthologies.

Vasyl Holoborodko, a classic of Ukrainian literature, writes about the works of Lesyk Panasiuk: "These poems cannot be quoted, that is, you cannot tear out individual lines from the body of the poem to quote, and if there is a need to quote, then the entire poem must be quoted. Therefore, this poetry is fundamentally antiquotational, finally the poems return to their specific purpose. These poems represent an example of liberation from rhetoric, a return to imagery as the dominant property of poetry. Poems return to their primordial essence, freeing themselves from external signs of poetics. It is also worth noting that these poems are very enigmatic, that is, one certain meaning does not crystallize in the mind of the reader at the end of the finished poem. Poems resemble music that cannot be verbalized and therefore cannot be quoted. Verlaine once demanded from poets that there should be more music in poems, although many poets understand that demand as humming, all kinds of phonetic tricks: assonances, alliteration, adherence to classical dimensions, although in fact he demanded freedom from rhetoric, which he called "literature", and dedicate the poet to imagery through which the inexpressible is expressed, as in music."


Oleh Kotsarev, a Ukrainian writer and critic, writes the following: "Lesyk Panasyuk is a very interesting verlibrist, in his poems there is an exquisite detailing of texture, a kind of "creeping" of associative series. And the exploratory, analytical observation of the depicted realities alternates with unexpected, and therefore strong, outbursts of sentimentality, or with existential irony. This poet's texts are characterized by a slow, gentle rhythm and tempo of the "development of events", extraordinary, one might say, "constructivist", thoroughness and methodicality in the study of each image or semantic structure. At the same time, the indisputable dominant, the "queen" of Panasyuk's writing is metaphor."


Julia Stakhivska, a Ukrainian writer, says this about Lesyk Panasyuk's works: "This poetry is characterized by a surrealistic toposless. And the internal geography is so variable in its scale: the zoom sometimes expands to the global enormity, then myopically focuses on some tiny thing: the mechanism of a snowflake or an anthill of light. In this naming of the world, giving names, there is, in my opinion, one of the essences of ars poetica since the time when the apple was bitten."


Bohdan-Oleh Horobchuk, a Ukrainian poet, writes: "The world of Lesyk Panasyuk's poetry has almost the main characteristic - it is continued, extended, connected. This is poetry by which one can almost unmistakably identify the author: cross-cutting imagery, a recognizable form, inherent even in very short poems."


Daryna Gladun, a Ukrainian writer and researcher, notes: "The metametaphorical texts of Lesyk Panasyuk impress not only with a paradoxical combination of artistic images and systems of images, but also with a special rhythm and melody characteristic of the author's verlibres."


Ilya Kaminsky, a Ukrainian-American poet, critic and professor, says the following about Lesyk Panasyuk and his works: "He’s found a way to take ancient poetic devices and tools of metaphor and rhythm—and make them new again, make them vibrate with possibility. This poet has found a way to speak about horror in a way that documents and resists, yes, but also shifts our perspective of what a lyric poem can do, how it can live not just in this moment, but beyond it, how poetry can still be a magnetic presence in this most greviously prosaic of times."