22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Ostap Slyvynsky

Portrait Ostap Slyvynsky
© Hartwig Klappert

Ostap Slyvynsky was born in Lviv in Western Ukraine in 1978. He is a poet, translator, critic, and a literary scholar. He studied at the Institute of Slav Language and Literature at the University of Lviv, where he obtained his doctorate with a thesis on the phenomenon of silence in literature in 2007, for which he studied exemplary pieces of prose by Bulgarian writers from the 1960s to the 1990s. Slyvynsky has published four collections of poems, so far: »Schertvoprinoschennja velykoi ryby« (1998; tr.: The sacrifice of the big fish), »Poludneva linija« (2004; tr.: Line at noon), »Mjatsch u pitmi« (2008; tr.: A ball in the darkness) and »Ruchomy ogien’« (2009; tr.: Wildfire). His last anthology was translated into Polish. »Wildfire could be the name of an intercontinental express train, or an international espionage operation, but here, in the margins of the accessible Europe, the word comes back like a slogan, glamorous on the humid, electrified tracks, hitting high two times in the dark gatekeeper’s cabin. Did someone wake up there?«. This is the sound of Slyvynskys sometimes restless poetry, which incessantly evokes associations and images, interrupted by reflections on language, history and politics. »Poetry is an intimate affair for me, because it addresses the individual. It is as if I have written a letter to someone«, Slyvynsky said in an Interview. Rhythm and phonetics are of particular importance in his poems. Sometimes they acquire a truly musical quality. Yet, he wants to see poetry as a living organism, which is unpredictabe in the meaning it can create. The poets he looks up to are Ted Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Czesław Miłosz, Ingeborg Bachmann, Kenneth Koch and Oleg Lysheha. His poems have been translated into eleven languages and published by literary journals and anthologies.

For the international project »Letters to Miłosz« he wrote the essay »Ljudina u miszi vignannja« (tr.: People at the site of displacement) in 2011. He is an associate editor of the Polish-German-Ukrainian literary journal »Radar« and an anthology of contemporary literature from Ukraine and Belarus. He writes for several magazines, is a lecturer at the University of Lviv, and is involved in interdisciplinary art projects. In 2006 and 2007, he organised the International Festival of Literature in Lviv. Slyvynsky has received various awards for his poetic oeuvre, including the Bohdan Ihor Antonych Literary Award in 1997, the Smoloskyp Prize in 2000 and the Hubert Burda Prize for Young Poetry in 2009. In 2007, he was a visiting scholar at the Literary Colloquium Berlin, in 2011 he was a Writer in Residence in quartier21/MQ in Vienna. Slyvynsky lives in Lemberg.

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