Ukrainian Ambassador Belashov Volodymyr smiles with the poetry book in a recent ceremony for publication in Seoul.
/ Korea Times Photo
by Kim Se-jeong
By Kim Se-jeong
`Poetry is what gets lost in translation,'' famous American poet Robert Frost said.
What is it like when what is lost in translation is translated into another language?
Famous Ukrainian poet Liudmyla Skyrda's poems have been translated into Korean, delivering Ukrainian sentiment in combination with an Oriental touch.
For Ukrainian Ambassador Belashov Volodymyr who hosted the book launching ceremony, the book couldn't be a better tool to promote Ukraine in Korea.
He said it was a good guide to introduce one of the most renowned Ukrainian poets and the Ukrainian language to the Korean people.
The audience was not so big at the ceremony, reflecting the extent of Koreans' knowledge of Ukraine.
Ambassador Volodymyr considered it a manageable challenge that is slowly improving. After his arrival, he has seen quite a few education delegations from Ukraine, and this year, Korean educators are to visit Ukraine, he said.
On the personal side, the translation is a triumph as the poet is one of his good friends ― her husband was one of his close colleagues, and used to be the ambassador's mentor.
Volodymyr had hoped for her presence at the ceremony, but this was not to be. However, the couple will be in China soon as her husband has been appointed as ambassador to China, a quick flight from Korea.
The poet's imagination was enriched thanks to her diplomat husband, who traveled around the world ― she lived in Tokyo for some time, her biography said.
Most poems are very short ― three to five lines each ― something learnt in Japan. ``These poems are believed to have been written while she was living in Japan during her husband's posting there,'' Anita E. Lee, manager of Pushkinhouse, the book's publisher, told The Korea Times.
For Lee, Ukrainian poems brought her back to the 1990s when she spent six years in Russia studying anthropology.
Lee said, the book was first modern Ukrainian poetry to be translated into Korean.
The book is available for sale at bookstores at price of 12,000 won.