Monday, September 24, 2018 - 02:26

Source: Krytyka Magazine, Print Edition, Year XIX, Issue 7-8 (213-214), pages 27-30

The New York Group: Again, as if for the First Time

August 2015

Maria G. Rewakowicz, Literature, Exile, Alterity: The New York Group of Ukrainian Poets. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2014, 250 р. 

There is no one there.

Julia Kristeva


In 1988, Ivan Fizer, in conversation with Bohdan Rubchak, spoke about his involvement in the New York Group, commenting on its English-language environment: “To be sure, sometimes the name must be explained at length; its translation in English sounds as if it were a type of business insurance, or perhaps, something even more suspicious – a conspiratorial “roundtable” of international politics of murky eminence. After nearly three decades of existence, after all of the publications and readings on the American continent, the name of the group still fails to evoke any significant association in the Anglophone reader. In what may truly be considered a rare event, at the end of last year, the Boston publishing house Academic Studies Press, with support from the Shevchenko Scientific Society in America, published a monograph by Maria Rewakowicz entitled Literature, Exile, Alterity: The New York Group of Ukrainian Poets, thus succeeding in bringing out the first English-language monograph on the New York Group (upon its nearly a half-century anniversary!).

The New York Group’s entry into English literary discourse has proceeded slowly and sporadically; as yet there have appeared only three publications (at intervals of not more than one per decade), that are not owed to members of the group itself: an article by Melanie Pytlowany (“Continuity and Innovation in the Poetry of the New York Group,” 1977), Liza Efimov-Schneider (“Poetry of the New York Group: Ukrainian Poets in the American Environment,” 1981), and Oleksiy Semenchenko (“The New York Group in Ukraine, 1990-1996: the Beginning of Understanding Between Two Ukrainian Literary Worlds,” 1999). These publications are completed by the expansive study of Bohdan Rubchak (“Homes of Shells: Ukrainian Émigré Poetry,” 1983) that was contained in a publication dedicated to Ukrainians in Canada. The only systemic research on the phenomenon of the New York Group in literary scholarship printed in the English language is owed to Maria Rewakowicz, whose four articles on the subject have appeared in Canadian journals dating to the early 2000s.

It is well known that there was mass emigration throughout the 20th century, and a great deal has been written about the experience of moving from one place to another. Yet, Ukrainian exiles, despite their considerable achievements, fail to make headlines in the publications on this theme. Researchers today write about Greek, Armenian, Jewish, and African experiences. They write of Indians and Arabs, of Chinese, of Russians, Poles, and Czechs – comprehensively, or individually ...

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