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Vasyl Stus

by Sasha from Dnepropetrovsk

Vasyl Stus was born not far from Kyiv but spent his childhood and youth in the Donbas Region. In this area of Ukraine, people speak mainly Russian, and it was a wonder that the young man could preserve his mother tongue. After graduating from the local Teacher Training College he worked as a teacher of Ukrainian language and literature. In 1963 he decided to continue his education and moved to Kyiv, where he started to study literary theory.

There he published his first collection of "The Circuit", "The Winter Trees", and the "Merry Cemetery". Both in his poetry and in his public speeches, Vasyl protested in his poems the repressions of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. Though it was a period of the so-called "political thaw" of 1961-1965, he was expelled from his graduate programme. In 1972 Vasyl was arrested charged with anti-Soviet propaganda, and sentenced to 5 years in prison and 3 years of exile. There Vasyl continued working and his prison poetry "A Candle in the Mirror" and "Palimpsests" are considered the heights of his creative heritage.

In his poems Vasyl wrote about life and death, fate and destiny, individual choice and responsibility. In 1979 Vasyl Stus returned to Kyiv only to be imprisoned again for another 10 years and 5 years of exile. But his undermined health could not stand the absence of freedom and he died in a camp for political prisoners in the Urals when he was only 49 years old. Like with many other outstanding writers the works of this talented Ukrainian poet will outlive their creator.


Page created on 5/7/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/7/2013 12:00:00 AM

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