Glagoslav Publications


Subterranean Fire



Author: Natalka Bilotserkivets

Translators: James Brasfield with Lada Kolomiyets, Olena Jennings, Michael M. Naydan, Dzvinia Orlowsky, Andrew Sorokowski, Myroslava Stefaniuk, and Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps


This collection comprises works of Natalka Bilotserkivets from different years.

A passionate intensity moves through the subjective, intimate voice of the poems of Natalka Bilotserkivets. Through translation, Subterranean Fire continues their mysterious pilgrimage to their second lives.  From one of the true inheritors – touchstones like Anna Akhmatova, Gabriela Mistral, and Louise Bogan – the poems of Bilotserkivets inhabit us as they include us in their transcendent borderland.

American poet James Brasfield

With great depths of feeling, Natalka Bilotserkivets’s poetry guides us into that uncharted territory where word meets heart.  The poems, spare and often questioning, redeem that land between what is most difficult to grasp and most difficult to forget.

Dzvinia Orlowsky, American poet and translator

Natalka Bilotserkivets’s poetry …is characterized by tight form and elegiac feelings … this reader was impressed by the liquid cascade of alliterations in her … poems.

Professor Andrew Wachtel

 …contemporary Ukrainian literature has been enriched by the unique pearl of [Natalka Bilotserkivets’s] intellectual and lyrical poetry.

Ukrainian prose writer, poet, and essayist Kost Moskalets

I am certain that this first-rate modern Ukrainian poet could become a star of world lyric poetry…

Ukrainian poet and prose writer Ludmyla Taran



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Natalka Bilotserkivets is a Ukrainian poet and translator. She was born in the village of Kuianivka near Sumy and was educated at Kyiv University. She married the critic Mykola Riabchuk and lives in Kyiv. She works as an editor for Ukrainian Culture magazine. Her first collection of poems Ballad about the Invincibles (Balada pro neskorenykh) was published in 1976, while she was still in university. She has also published the collections The Underground Fire (1984) and November (1989). The collections Allergy (1999) and Central Hotel (2004) were the winners of Book of the Month contests in 2000 and 2004 respectively.


James Brasfield has received the American Association for Ukrainian Studies Prize for Translation, the PEN Prize for Poetry in Translation, two Senior Fulbright Fellowships to Ukraine, and fellowships in poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, both with Louisiana State University Press: Infinite Altars (2009) and Ledger of Crossroads (2016), and The Selected Poems of Oleh Lysheha (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute Publications, 2000).

Olena Jennings’s collection of poetry Songs from an Apartment was released in 2017 by Underground Books. Her translations of poetry from Ukrainian can be found in Chelsea, Poetry International, and Wolf. She has published fiction in Joyland, Pioneertown, and Projectile. She completed her MFA in writing at Columbia University and her MA focusing in Ukrainian literature at the University of Alberta.  

Lada Kolomiyets Doctor of Philology and Professor of the Department of theory and practice of translation from English at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. She is a recipient of Fulbright scholarships at the University of Iowa (1996-97) and the Pennsylvania State University (2017-18). Her main research interests lie in literary translation and the history of translation. Her books include several monographs and literary anthologies in Ukrainian and book chapters in English. She is currently working on an Anthology of New Multicultural Voices in American Literature in her own translations into Ukrainian.

Michael M. Naydan is the Woskob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and translator, co-translator and/or editor of over 40 books of translations from Ukrainian and Russian, more than 40 articles, and over 80 publications of translations in literary journals and anthologies.

Dzvinia Orlowsky is Pushcart prize recipient, translator, and a founding editor of Four Way Books. She is the author of six poetry collections published by Carnegie Mellon University Press including A Handful of Bees, reprinted in 2009 as part of the Carnegie Mellon University Classic Contemporary Series; Convertible Night, Flurry of Stone, for which she received a 2010 Sheila Motton Book Award; and Bad Harvest, named a 2019 Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read” in Poetry. Her translation from the Ukrainian of Alexander Dovzhenko’s novella, The Enchanted Desna, was published by House Between Water in 2006.

Andrew Sorokowski was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1950 and grew up in San Francisco. He has studied both Romance and Slavic languages. He has also worked as a lecturer, researcher, writer, editor, and translator. Retired from the US Department of Justice, currently lives near Washington, DC.

Myroslava Stefaniuk, writer, translator and educator was born in Ukraine, emigrated to the States via Displace Persons camps in Germany and currently lives in Michigan. She has authored works on Ukrainian immigration history, the creative arts, and also publishes her own prose and poetry. Her translations of contemporary Ukrainian poetry and prose have been published in the USA, Canada, and Ukraine.

Wanda Phipps is the author of the books Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire (BlazeVOX[books]) and Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems (Soft Skull Press). She received a New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in over 100 literary magazines and numerous anthologies.

Virlana Tkacz heads the Yara Arts Group and has directed thirty original shows at La MaMa Theatre in New York, as well as in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Bishkek, Ulaanbaatar and Ulan Ude. She received an NEA Poetry Translation Fellowship for her translations with Wanda of Serhiy Zhadan’s poetry.

Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps as a translating team have received the Agni Poetry Translation Prize, the National Theatre Translation Fund Award and 12 translation grants from the New York State Council on the Arts. Their translations have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, and are integral to the theatre pieces created by Yara Arts Group. Their translations of the poetry of Serhiy Zhadan have most recently appeared in the volume Mesopotamia (New Haven: Yale UP, 2018).

Endorsements and Review Quotes

Natalka Biloserkivets “has been a leading literary voice through half a century of her country’s history. Indeed, her words have occasionally broken free from the literary world into popular culture <…>. Through her own voice and with her own priorities, Bilotserkivets has reflected on her country’s many transformations. Subterranean Fire is a retrospective reprint of some of her most iconic and exemplary pieces, guided by the poet herself.” Thom Dinsdale, East-West Review


Natalka Bilotserkivets

Book Format

Hardcover, Paperback, EPUB, Kindle

Publication date

30th April 2022


158 pages

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