Lyuba Yakimchuk [Ukraine]


© Nata Koval

© Nata Koval

Guest 2017


Jak moda


Lwiw, 2009

Abrikosi Donbasu

Wydawnitstwo Starogo Lewa

Lwiw, 2015


The Ukrainian poet, screenwriter and columnist Lyubov (Lyuba) Yakimchuk was born in Pervomaisk in the Luhansk oblast. She studied at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv until 2008 and completed her studies in 2011 at the National University of »Kyiv-Mohyla Academy« with a thesis on literature theory. From 2003 to 2008 she was a member of the STAN group, a part of the international Tandem Network of writers, philosophers, artist, journalists and educators with aim of overcoming the cultural crisis and of advancing modern art in Ukraine.

Following the appearance of her self-published poems under the title »U chotiroh stinah« (2009; tr. Between four walls), Lyuba Yakimchuk released her poetry collection »Jak moda« (tr: As fashion) that same year, a volume that also contained visual poems presented in a photographic framework. The debut was celebrated as a revival of the futurist tradition, as it demonstrated an »inexhaustible futurist brilliance« (Yuri Sadlovski). Yakimchuk’s second collection of poems »Abrikosi Donbasu« (2015; tr. Donbas apricots) was also greeted with praise. »Her poetic language is simple and convincing, like it should be, when one speaks of such important things as apricots. In other words, about memory and love«, was how Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan put it. It was selected by the Ukrainian »Forbes« as one of the »10 best books on Ukrainian counter-terrorism measures«. Yakimchuk has been honored with numerous literary awards. In 2010 she was a scholar in the Polish Ministry of Culture’s »Gaude Polonia« program. Her poems have been translated into many languages and published in European, U.S. and Israeli magazines.

She also performs in a musical and poetic duo with Ukrainian improvisational upright bass player Mark Tokar, drawing on verses from »Abrikosi Donbasu«, among other works. Her texts are also being interpreted by the Ukrainian singer Mariana Sadovska in Cologne. Together with Julia Blaut, Yakimchuk created a video poetry cycle in 2008 that was shown at the 2nd International Festival for Video Poetry in Saint Petersburg. As a model and poet she participated in the project »Divcata znimajut divcat« (tr. Young Women photograph young women), which took place in spring 2008 in Luhansk and presented 70 works by women photographers from Luhansk, Donetsk and Kiev, love poems by Lyuba Yakimchuk, and performances of body art. To mark the 120th birthday of Ukrainian futurist writer Mykhaylo Semenko, a key figure in the renewal and development of national Ukrainian literature after 1917, Yakimchuk initiated the »Semenko Year« cultural project in 2012 consisting of a series of discussions, readings and lectures and a »non-stop night of poetry and music« in Lviv. The author lives in Kiev.