Oksana Maksymchuk


Oksana Maksymchuk is a poet, translator, and scholar. Her poetry appeared in Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, The Common, and other journals. Judges Cole Swensen, Oliver de la Paz, and Maggie Smith named Oksana’s manuscript Tongue Ties a finalist for Tupelo Press’s Snowbound (2019), Berkshire (2019), and Dorset (2020) prizes, and individual poems had been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. As a Ukrainian language poet, she is the author of poetry collections Xenia (2005) and Lovy (2008) and a recipient of Ihor-Bohdan Antonych (2005) and Smoloskyp (2007) prizes, two of Ukraine’s top awards for younger poets. Oksana’s translations were featured in Words Without Borders, Poetry International, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Best European Fiction series from Dalkey Archive Press. With Max Rosochinsky, she co-edited Words for War, a NEH-winning anthology of contemporary Ukrainian war poetry (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute/Academic Studies Press, 2017). Oksana won first place in the 2004 Richmond Lattimore and 2014 Joseph Brodsky-Stephen Spender translation competitions and was awarded a National Endowments for the Arts Translation Fellowship in 2019. She is the co-translator of Apricots of Donbas, selected poems by Lyuba Yakimchuk, and The Voices of Babyn Yar, a book of poems by Marianna Kiyanovska, forthcoming with Lost Horse Press and Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute/Harvard University Press, respectively. Oksana holds a PhD in philosophy from Northwestern University. Most recently, she has been named 2020-2021 Writer in Residence by the Institute for Advanced Study at the Central European University.



 "Ashtray," "Mutual Friends," "Asylum, A Dance" by Lyuba Yakimchuk. 
Washington Square Review,
Summer 2020 (forthcoming)
Literature.and.Telephony - Copy.jpg
"When you clean your weapon"
by Borys Humenyuk
"Funeral Services" by Lyuba Yakimchuk
Poetry International, Ukraine Feature: Words for War, September 2017
"Mysteries of the Fields" and 
"Whether I puff on a pipe, leaning on Greenwich" by Yulia Fintiktikova
Sand Journal, Issue 15, May 2017
"Decomposition," "Caterpillar," and
"How I killed" by Lyuba Yakimchuk
In Letters from Ukraine: An Anthology.
Ternopil: Krok Books, 2016
"She says: we don't have the right kind of basement in our building" 
by Anastasia Afanasieva.
The London Magazine, April / May 2015 
"A Woman and Her Fish"
by Tanya Malyarchuk.
Berlin Quarterly, Issue 2, Summer 2014
"Me and My Sacred Cow"
by Tania Malyarchuk.
In Best European Fiction 2013. Edited by Aleksandar Hemon and John Banville.
Champaign: Dalkey Archive Press, 2012

Praise for Words for War

Stephanie Sandler

Harvard University

"We necessarily come to these poems in a time of war, and that war’s grotesque political dimensions and endless violence are painfully felt on these pages. But these are poems that should command our attention even in a time of peace, should it ever come to our troubled planet: these are poems in which the spirit of creative imagination, free expression, emotional clarity, and ethical courage reigns supreme."

About translations

The Joseph Brodsky Stephen Spender Prize 2014

Judges' Reports

"Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky's 'Untitled' by Anastasia Afanasieva is such a new translation, of such a new poem, on such a brand new miserable reality not so far away – Eastern Ukraine – that at every round I would think, merely, 'there's nothing much wrong with this for what it is' until there it still was, at the top of the pile, because it's so beautifully phrased, its movements are so authentic in terms of what's seen and felt, and its line-breaks are flawless. It manages without any punctuation whatever (except the colon at the top, which is introductory and perhaps unnecessary) and simply lets voice and silence ebb and flow, go on, get by, down the page and through the bleak day. There's nothing else it can do, it does nothing else, does it superbly."

— Glyn Maxwell

"Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky's rendition of Anastasia Afanasieva's poignant and creatively bald portrait of the tragedy of civil war in Eastern Ukraine is evoking life's fragility with discreet craft."

"Maksymchuk and Rosochinsky's version of Vladimir Gandelsman's 'Ode to a Dandelion' was marvelously rhythmic and expertly captured the offhand reflectiveness of the original." 

—Catriona Kelly, 

Oxford University

"The winning translation of Anastasia Afanasieva's poem about surviving the war in Eastern Ukraine combined a thoughtful and compassionate approach with perfect instinct for phrase, line break and rhythm. This apparently artless poem is constructed from snippets of narrative: the sort of thing you might hear in a news broadcast or on social media about a distant war. But it requires the translator to dig very deep and to filter the words through our own language's consciousness of war and survival in order to shape a poem in English that moves with the precisely awful banalities of war and comes to rest delicately and finally, 'if so, then we must be experiencing / moments after death'."

—Sasha Dugdale

Modern Poetry in Translation