Cover Image for Forest Song (Act 1)

Forest Song (Act 1)

trans. by Eriel Vitiaz
Issue Two

The Neoromantic Forest Song (Lisova pisnia) is the most famous of Lesia Ukrainka’s poetic dramas, first published in 1912. The translator Eriel Vitiaz presents a selected passage about dreams drawing attention to the ability of the Forest Song’s heroine ‘to paint mesmerising pictures with words, pictures that show us glimpses of a different world where everything is more vibrant, more pronounced, and (in a way) more real’.


Lake, forest, rush were all asleep.
The willow creaked, ‘Sweet dreams, sweet dreams…’
And in my quiet sleep it seemed that all was white.
The world was made of cleanliness and light.
Clear diamonds glittered there on silver boughs,
And nameless grasses were all pale with flowers,
Like icy crystals, stars were falling, piling up in drifts,
And, dazzled by my winter gifts, I was asleep.
My breath was slow and deep,
And yet, my wandering thought
Wove crimson patterns in my mind and wrought
Blue fantasies with streaks of gold,
Unlike those summer dreams I had of old.



Read in Ukrainian.


Image: Olena Kulchytska, Winter, 1911. Coloured linocut. Source:

Cover Image for Ukrainian Cassandras

Ukrainian Cassandras

Issue Two

Thirty-one years since Ukraine regained its independence, and six months to the day since Russia escalated its eight-year long war to engulf the entire country, it is high time to hear and believe ‘Ukrainian Cassandras’.

Olesya Khromeychuk and Sasha Dovzhyk
Cover Image for Cassandra


Issue Two

The winner of the Ukrainian Literature in Translation Prize run by the Ukrainian Institute London in 2021 is Nina Murray’s excerpt from Lesia Ukrainka’s poetic drama Cassandra (written in 1907). In this play, the author chooses to tell one of the keystone myths of western culture, the story of the siege of Troy, from the point of view of a woman, the Trojan princess and prophet Cassandra. For the translator, Lesia Ukrainka’s exploration of the credibility of a woman as a producer of knowledge remains ‘highly relevant and compelling’.

trans. by Nina Murray