A poet, writer and translator. He is the author of ten collections of poetry. He has also published a collection of short stories, two books of essays, and two plays. He edited an anthology of young Ukrainian poets from the 1990’s. Makhno’s work has been translated into over twenty fives languages, and his poems were published in Poland, Romania, Serbia and the USA. He is the 2013 recipient of Serbia’s Povele Morave Prize in Poetry and BBC Book of the Year Award 2015. Makhno currently lives in New York City.
ON WAR a soldier – he can catch a bullet with his quivering heart and fall into solitude itself the earth – like a mother – will embrace him because an idiot sniper shot him an angel lights a candle and sounds his trumpet a battalion that no longer exists – they were shot in the back at close range – they’re still tying their bootlaces still marching through the steppe already hopelessly late the general – commander of a non-existent front a turncoat swine and no hero – deserves to have his epaulettes stripped should grovel at every door forget his hemorrhoids and heal his soul this is war: mother and stepmother – cousin, aunt and, sure, a whore, death, lacking any semantic sense when it gathers up its metal bowls is a hole-riddled soldier’s heart, nothing more I am a poet of the periodic table of ruins of a broken army and a forfeited land shot-through like the heart of a soldier it shakes like an uncatchable feather trembling lightly on a stem Vasyl Makhno Translated by Uilleam Blacker