Marjana Gaponenko was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1981. She spent her childhood writing her diary and reading fairytales, which have remained a source of her inspiration. During that time she also became fascinated by the theatre. At the age of fourteen she wrote her first poem in German as an exercise to memorise new vocabulary. From this pragmatic interest she developed a deep love for the German language and has since continued writing poems in German. Since 1998 her poems have been published in literary magazines and anthologies, including ‘Muschelhaufen’, ‘Lichtungen’, and ‘The Book of Hope’. In 2000, her first volume of poetry, ‘wie tränenlose ritter’ (t: Like Tearless Knights), was published; its subtle nuances in wording and its powerful imagery were enthusiastically received by the critics. She draws much from her childhood memories, from her dreams and hopes, and focuses her attention on the beauty in everyday life. Rain is one of her recurring motifs. “To me, rain is mature, fertile, pure and in autumn something very tragic. As is the night, and also love”. In 2001, she published volumes of love poems entitled ‘Rotes Blatt in der Mähne des reitenden Pferdes’ (t: Red Leaf in the Riding Horse’s Mane) and ‘Tanz vor dem Gewitter’ (t: Dance Before the Thunderstorm). The same year she was granted a literary scholarship for the artists’ village of Schöppingen near Münster, Germany. In 2002, she was a guest author at the House of Literature in Lower Austria. During that year ‘Freund’ (t: Friend), her first volume of prose, appeared. In it she creates cameos of mock autobiographies depicting both a romantic relationship and her affinity for certain landscapes and places. Her “poetry 2004-2007” was published under the title “Nachtflug” (2007; t: Night Flight). The magazine ‘Deutsche Sprachwelt’ elected Marjana Gaponenko Author of the Year in 2002. Her texts have been translated into various languages. She studied German language and literature at the University of Odessa from 1998 to 2002, and lived in Krakow for the following two years. She stayed in Dublin from 2004 to 2006.
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