An open access publication of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Spring 2023

how to write a poem about Bucha

Nina Murray
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Nina Murray is an American poet and translator, born and raised in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. She is the author of two books of poetry, Alcestis in the Underworld (Circling Rivers, 2019) and Minimize Considered (Finishing Line Press, 2018), and the translator of Oksana Zabuzhko’s The Museum of Abandoned Secrets (Amazon Crossing, 2013), and Peter Aleshkovsky’s Fish: A History of One Migration (Russian Life Books, 2010) and Stargorod (Russian Life Books, 2013).

have the kettle on behind you on a video call. steep the words its rattle and hiss grind up to make a cup tea. let it sit. soak a piece of knitting in it, rib by rib. now put the wool over your eyes and wait until it sucks out of them the sights of dogs shot dead in the street.  wring it.  dip daffodils in the resulting ink. wait for a storm. what’s left on the petals, rain-torn, will be the poem.



“How to Write a Poem about Bucha” originally appeared in Ukrainian-American Poets Respond, edited by Olena Jennings and Virlana Tkacz (2022).