“This exhibition gives an opportunity to get an idea about how Vasyl Stus entered in Ukrainian literature,” explained the poet’s son, director of the National Museum of Taras Shevchenko Dmytro Stus. Visitors will be able to see for the first time the manuscripts of the poet, political prisoner, and human rights activist, his hand-made notebooks with poetry, books published both in Ukraine and abroad, as well as his lectures.
Poet’s first books were published abroad because in Ukraine his lyrical work was banned for ideological reasons. Only in 1989 poetry collection The Return with illustrations by Opanas Zalyvakha was published in Ivano-Frankivsk. At the exhibition visitors will see this book along with others published in Western cities like Bern, Hamburg, Warsaw, Toronto, New York, and others. You can also see a notebook with translations of Rainer Maria Rilke poems with autographs, court sentences rewritten by Vasyl Stus and Volodymyr Chornovil in the camp in 1974, and notebook with poetry from the early 1960s. First pages of the dissertation are put neatly under glass, lecture on the state of Ukrainian literature and critics at Kyivprylad plant, first collection of poems by Stus published in Literary Newspaper with Andrii Malyshko’s preface from 1959, Stus’s handmade notebook with poems from 1957-65.
“Through such exhibitions and special events Vasyl Stus has been entering Ukrainian literary and cultural space for the past 10-15 years. It seems to me, from the day of reburial in 20 years Stus from a little-known writer became a recognized classic,” said Dmytro Stus. In his opinion, the best achievement before the 75th birth anniversary of the poet is the fact that nearly all materials on Stus studies can be accessed online. “In fact, all materials on Stus are on the Internet at the moment. It is the best way of spreading knowledge and making Ukrainian classics available to the public,” said the son of the poet. According to his calculations, the total circulation of “father’s books and books about him” is more than a million copies. “Yet, this is still very little,” summed up Dmytro Stus.