WARREN, Mich. – One of mankind’s finest accomplishments is poetry. No one can explain why poems charm, encourage, inspire, as well as soothe, heal and express the deepest human emotions. Poetry’s magical power remains a mystery. For our Detroit poets “Poetry is music of the soul.”
These were the opening words at the literary-musical event “Poetry – Music of the Soul” presented by the publication Detroitski Novyny and the Ukrainian Cultural Club on Sunday, February 7, at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, Mich.
The current editor of Detroitski Novyny, Jaroslav Berezowsky, greeted the listeners, acknowledged the dedication of the publication’s founders and editors, and presented a token of appreciation to his predecessor, Lubomyr Lypeckyj.
Then, in a hall packed to capacity, the audience was introduced to original works by nine featured poets who represented all waves and generations of Ukrainian immigration to Detroit. The staged café-like setting set the mood as mistress of ceremonies Olya Foroshivka introduced each group of poems by theme: memories of childhood, life’s journey through joys and sorrows, love, family, homeland, and the search for wisdom, spirituality and God.
Ukrainian poems were penned by Nina Wasylkevych, Natalia Shmoron, Iryna Zhuravel, Daria Rychtycka and Vera Krywa. Authors and readers of poetry in English were Ksenia Rychtycka, Nina Orlovskaya, Myrosia Stefaniuk and Katrina Chestuch.
Music embellished the spoken word. In a lyrical scenario prepared by Natalia Shmoron, readings were interwoven with apropos musical interludes. Works of Ukrainian and other composers were performed by Solomiya Svytka and Andrij Shturko on piano, and the piano-violin duo of Tanya Sepell and Natalya Chestuch-Weiss; songs were performed by the Vyshyvanka vocal ensemble directed by Iryna Svytka and accompanied by Halyna Yalovenko.
Long after the program concluded, the audience lingered over refreshments. The animated discussions and reflections were testimony that a poem is not a thing we see, but rather a light by which we may see, and what we see is life in all of its facets and nuances (as noted by an anonymous observer). Or to paraphrase the words of poet Maya Angelou, those who attended the event may forget much of what was said, but they will not forget how it made them feel.