What We Live For, What We Die for: Selected Poems

Serhiy Zhadan (Author) Virlana Tkacz (Translator)
& 2 more


In these accessible narrative poems by world-renowned Ukrainian author Serhiy Zhadan, the reader will find profoundly and concisely drawn portraits of life on war-torn and poverty-ravaged streets. In the tradition of Tom Waits, Charles Bukowski, and William S. Burroughs, Zhadan creates a new poetics of loss.

Product Details

Yale University Press
Publish Date
April 16, 2019
5.9 X 0.6 X 7.7 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author

Serhiy Zhadan was born in the Luhansk Region of Ukraine and educated in Kharkiv. His previous works include Mesopotamia, and his books have been translated into several languages. Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps are an award-winning translation team who have been translating Ukrainian poetry since 1989.


"Stunning translations that don't read like translations, but read as English-language poems . . . When we read this book of poetry we are letting ourselves be part of history being formed."--Olena Jennings, Ukrainian Weekly
"[Zhadan's] work has become important to a generation experiencing, simultaneously, war and global interconnectedness . . . With this volume, [translators] Tkacz and Phipps will whet Anglophone readers' appetites for Zhadan's poetic engagement with a dangerous, polarized, uncertain world . . . The United States needs a Zhadan as much as Ukraine does."--Amelia Glaser, Los Angeles Review of Books
"This collection of Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan's poems will likely cement his reputation as the unflinching witness to the turbulent social and political travails of his nation. With an acerbic tone that will seem familiar to admirers of Franz Wright or Charles Bukowski, Zhadan's no-nonsense verses are sure to strike more than a few nerves."--World Literature Today
"Undergirding Zhadan's poetry is a humanitarian desire to improve the physical, cultural, and spiritual conditions in which Ukrainian people live, today and tomorrow . . . Zhadan's poems reveal the heart and soul of places forgotten, hidden, and unseen, so that we may also witness and understand and remember."--Kristina Lucenko, Our Life / Nashe Zhyttia
Selected as a 2020 PEN Translation Award Semi-Finalist, sponsored by PEN America Literary Awards