By Annie Newcomer:
The Flapper Press Poetry Café features poets of all ages from across the globe. This week, we highlight the work of Ukrainian poet Mykyta Ryzhykh.
Mykyta Ryzhykh was the winner of the international competition Art Against Drugs, a bronze medalist of the festival Chestnut House, and the laureate of the literary competition named after Yuriy Tyutyunnik. He's been ublished in the journals Dzvin, Ring A, Polutona, Rechport, Topos, Articulation, Formaslov, Colon, Literature Factory, Literary Chernihiv, on the portals Literary Center and Soloneba, in the Ukrainian literary newspaper, and in the almanac Syaivo.
Mykyta received a scholarship from the president of Ukraine for young artists and was published in the Tipton Poetry Journal (2022), Stone Poetry Journal (2022), Divot journal, dyst journal (01.07.2022), Superpresent Magazine and Allegro Poetry Magazine (2022), Alternate Route (07.2022), Better Than Starbucks Poetry & Fiction Journal (07.2022), and Littoral Press (2022).
We reached out to Mykyta to talk about poetry, passions, and life as a poet in Ukraine.
Please Meet Mykyta Ryzhykh!
Annie Newcomer: Mykyta, when I asked you to give a descriptive term for your work, you wrote, "The Poet Future." This gave me chills because you are young and Ukraine is under siege. Please expound upon this descriptive choice.
Mykyta Ryzhykh: The future is irreversible. As a writer and as a person, I would like us to live in a happy and peaceful future. This is the task of each of us.
AN: Mykyta, what are some of your poetic goals going forward?
MR: I want to publish my debut book of poems. I have accumulated a lot of texts, but I haven't thought about the details yet.
AN: You have won many literary awards. Is there one that is especially significant and memorable for you?
MR: I can't single out anything in particular. Perhaps, I would like something unexpected. For example, nominations for some literary award unknown to me.
AN: So often in difficult times, poets find the words to lift us up and encourage us. Do you feel this pressure? Or do you write from your heart and allow your words to flow and land where they will?
MR: I write about what I want to write. I don't think ahead about the themes of the poems. Yes, I like "my heart and my words flow and land where they will."
AN: Please give us an overview of what it is like to be a poet in Ukraine in these extraordinarily difficult times.
MR: I am the same as all Ukrainians. I'm the same as everyone else. Together we will overcome any difficulties.
AN: How do you advise our readers to best enter your poetry? For example, when I was in Iceland and met with poets there, I was warned that there are many different words for "snow" and to be aware that this presents a challenge for translators. Is there anything that you would like us to keep in mind as we explore and read your poems? Do you see your poems as distinctly Ukrainian pieces, or are they easily translated for a global audience?
MR: Literature is always the property of all earthlings. If someone has difficulty understanding—for this there are notes and reviews of critics. This is a slightly selfish position. But no one owes anyone anything. The author cannot be a tyrant. Culture and traditions cannot dictate terms to the author. Readers and authors should respect each other.
AN: Thank you so much for visiting with us in our poetry café, Mykyta. This is where I ask you to share your work with our readers and include a short backstory on each poem. Please keep in contact with Flapper Press and know that we wish you all the best both now and in the future.
Westernized haiku about nature. Nothing superfluous. I love short forms: in the twenty-first century, they are the most relevant in megacities. The fusion of Western and Japanese in one text is also interesting here.
birds come home from
paradise and sing songs
the silence recedes
A verse about the human entanglement of the personal path. Or not. In fact, it doesn’t matter what I wanted to say with my text —and did I want to? There is always more in a work of art than the creator of the work intended.
diaphragms of misfortune
torn tongue bites the tongue
the word touches a deaf ear
a man stands by the old cemetery
and does not know what to say
About emotions and their overcoming. I like this poetry for its tightness and openness at the same time. This autumn is a topical text—in every sense.
and I’m not scared anymore
After 02/24/2022, Ukrainian TV often began to show movies to distract from tension—including the Harry Potter films. This verse is written from an opposing position: there are no magicians in reality. Even if magic existed before, it doesn't exist now.
what the tear hides
spring is playing hide and seek
a winter feeling creeps into my heart
a tear freezes and doesn't dry up
inside the child the wizard dies
and becomes an adult
Variations on the theme of the Garden of Eden and its music. This is actually the oldest text from the collection, I don't know what to say about it.
God was a bee yesterday
He flew himself and flew on the surface of the air
He gave himself and flew over the surface of the spirit of every living
And when it started to rain it rained on all of us
And on the lawn the grass grew like a song
(key white key black)
How the apple tree grew
Superstition has found on everyone
And it like nothing else, abstractly lay between us
Annie Klier Newcomer founded a not-for-profit, Kansas City Spirit, that served children in metropolitan Kansas for a decade. Annie volunteers in chess and poetry after-school programs in Kansas City, Missouri. She and her husband, David, and the staff of the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens are working to develop The Emily Dickinson Garden in hopes of bringing art and poetry educational programs to their community.
Annie helms the Flapper Press Poetry Café—dedicated to celebrating poets from around the world and to encouraging everyone to both read and write poetry!
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