Poetry and resistance are two key aspects of the research project by our former URIS fellow, Bohdan Tokarskyi.
A Slavonic and cultural studies scholar from the University of Cambridge, Tokarskyi is exploring the life and work of the Soviet Ukrainian dissident poet Vasyl’ Stus (1938–1985) in a study titled “A Fragment of Wholeness: The Making of the Self in the Works of Vasyl’ Stus”. Stus spent the last 13 years of his life in Soviet prison and the Gulag and is revered in Ukraine as a dissident and national martyr. Bohdan Tokarskyi offers an innovative reading of Vasyl’ Stus’s oeuvre by focusing on Stus’s poetic subjectivity. The scholar seeks to elucidate the poet’s distinctive position at the intersection of Ukrainian metaphysical poetry, European modernism, and Soviet literature. Through “A Fragment of Wholeness”, he also endeavours to show how Stus’s works invite us to revisit these canons. With his innovative literary scholarship, Bohdan Tokarskyi pays tribute to the work of one of Ukraine’s most complex twentieth-century poets who is still largely unknown outside of his home country.