To the editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tori Reynolds of OPEN and the members of the judges’ panel for selecting my poem, “The Land of Terrible Beauty,” as the winning entry in the poetry contest connected with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko, the national poet/artist of Ukraine.
As a former member of the OPEN Board of Directors and a frequent visitor to Ukraine, I have learned to appreciate Shevchenko’s contribution to Ukrainian history by documenting a difficult time during its period of serfdom under warring factions for power in the early to mid-1800s. I urge your readers to read more about Shevchenko online and to check out his wealth of artwork reflecting culture, the difficulty of life for the peasant class, and imprisonment for speaking out against injustice.
His book, “Kobzar” (which is a musical instrument), is respected all over the world and has been translated into many languages. Statues honoring Shevchenko have been erected throughout Ukraine and Russia, and his writings, sketches and paintings have been prominently featured in numerous museums in both countries. Shevchenko died young in 1861.
Again, thank you for this prestigious honor. I am very moved.