Andrij Bondar

Portrait Andrij Bondar
© Oleksandr Chekmeniev

Andriy Bondar was born in Kamianets-Podilsky, Ukraine, in 1974. He studied history and literary theory at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and at the age of twenty-two won the literary contest for young writers organized by the Smoloskyp publishing house. Shortly thereafter he published his first collection of poems, »Vesinnia yeres« (1998; t: S pr ing heresy), followed by »Istyna i med« (2001; t: Truth and honey). Bondar’s journalism has led him to write for the »Gazeta po-ukrainsky« and the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung«. He has also worked as editor of the weekly paper »Dzerkalo tyzhnia«, for which he has repeatedly penned award-winning columns.
Bondar’s early poetry has ties to the Modernist tradition of Ukrainian literature that was sup pr essed by the czars for its nationalism and the development of which was later curtailed due to the doctrine of social realism. Yet one can detect not only the influence of the Ukrainian poet Mykola Bazhan, born in the same place as Bondar, but also echoes of international greats such as García Lorca and e.e. cummings. In her afterword to the anthology edited by Hans Thill, »Vorwärts ihr Kampfschildkröten. Gedichte aus der Ukraine« (2006; t: Onwards you fighting turtles: Poetry from the Ukraine), Stefaniya Ptashnyk describes Bondar’s early poems as »full of lyrical meditations and moving im pr essions. Linguistic experiments, sophisticated word games, use of a rarified vocabulary, accentuation of speech melodies as well as a refined imagery, are typical features of his poetic ap pr oach.«
Bondar’s most recent volume of poems, »Prymityvni formy vlasnosti« (2004; t: Primitive forms of ownership) appeared in the year of the Orange Revolution. The poet experienced the weeks of pr otests as an end to »the fierce Ukrainian penchant for martyrdom and necrophilia, dreary austerity and self-adulation«. Meanwhile, his poetic voice also changed, in favor of ironic and self-critical observations of daily life. »I can no longer let myself write in metaphors / play with the tradition and write about snails / perhaps you are right and poetry died inside me / (good God a metaphor again) and I am no poet anymore«.
Bondar’s poems have been translated into German by Oskar Pastior and Joachim Sartorius among others, and he emerged as a translator in his own right with Witold Gombrowicz’s novel »Ferdydurke«. In 2006 Bondar took part in the literature pr oject »Potyah 76« (Train 76) and went on a reading tour through Europe. The author lives in Vorzel, a suburb of Kyiv.

© international literature festival berlin