The August Rain


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The August Rain

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The August Rain is Stephen Komarnyckyj's first collection of original poetry and has been described as a "beautiful book". The poems swoop easily between throwing a carp into a Yorkshire mill pond and a heavy metal concert in Berlin.


My father, with his trousers rolled up to his knee,
Stood in the beck, in peat-stained water
That was the gold orange of a delicate tea,
Though curious frills of lace and snow
Bloomed over the stones nearby
And his feet were either bronze or ivory.

It was not those that took me, but his face,
The face of a young man glazed with sunlight,
Stooped over the stream, his gaze
At once enraptured and predatory
And then the trout quite still in his hand.
In dreams he shows me, there is no sound

As he lowers the trout back into the water.
We watch it flex, balance and float,
Curved to a Circassian dagger
Thrust in the river’s throat,
And the sand and stones of the river bed
And the water rusted as old blood.ere ...

Praise for The August Rain. ..

" This is a book through which memory and its voices lap like waves. Whether it be in his own luminous writing, or through his translations and versions of others, Komarnyckyj communicates a quiet fire that is often 'stringent as redemption' demanding to be read and acknowledged, and offering profound rewards in return. His poetry belongs to the line of writers in whose service his rendering into English has gifted us much richness and much new understanding: to the tradition of Svidzinskyi, Antonych and Tychyna. Like them, his work is of a place, but transcendent of borders and boundaries. It is the articulation of what it means to be human."

Sean Street, poet and BBC Broadcaster.

Drawing force both from an English visionary tradition that leads right back to Caedmon and the fevered restlessness of some Slavic poetries, Stephen Komarnyckyj’s is a serious – so perhaps currently unfashionable—poetry of life’s elemental mysteries and sorrows. Ted Hughes comes to mind here, both for his mythic darkness and his openness to international poetry, but there are very few current British poets one can even think of for comparison. There is the burden of history. “Surreal” would be a useless and superficial word: every single line here seems to know “the taste // of blood and its cost”; each sinks in, as a “river slips / through the earth, a groom / sinks into his bride.”

Vivek Narayanan

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