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Two years on: tireless poet of war in Ukraine issues new collection to mark grim anniversary

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A poet who has regularly and untiringly posted poems about the war in Ukraine on Write Out Loud since Russia’s invasion has produced a new selection of his work to mark the second anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s attack. Two Years On by Stephen Gospage contains 50 poems about the war, including a number that have not previously appeared on Write Out Loud. It has this foreword: “It is now two years since Russia launched its senseless, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The war which ensued has led to a massacre of innocents in Ukraine, including many children and babies. Thousands of civilians and soldiers have been severely injured, and many towns and cities have been bombed and shelled to near-oblivion. Seven million

"Ukrainians have fled abroad and a similar number have been displaced internally. One-fifth of Ukraine’s territory has been captured. Although Ukraine has fought back heroically to stem the invader’s progress, this has been achieved at the cost of thousands of soldiers’ lives and Ukraine it is highly dependent on foreign aid and weapons to sustain its effort.

“On the Russian side, tens of thousands of under-prepared soldiers have been sacrificed at the front on a conveyor belt of death. No amount of nationalistic bluster can wipe out the tragedy of this pointless conflict.

“One bright spot has been the solidarity and support shown by Western countries in aiding Ukraine, although recently ‘Ukraine fatigue’ has begun to rear its head, as the war drags on and other events compete for the attention of leaders. These poems are a selection from a series that I have been writing since the invasion. They attempt to examine the situation from many different points of view and I hope that they will make the reader think about the futility and tragedy of the conflict and of war in general. A poem cannot stop a bullet or turn back a missile but it can provide a platform for reflection. I would be delighted if just  one of my efforts did this.”

Stephen Gospage, a writer of poetry and short stories, was born in London in 1953 and spent most of his working life in Brussels. Now retired, he lives in Belgium, close to Waterloo. Several of his poems have appeared in The New European newspaper as well as on Write Out Loud. In 2022, he published a collection of poems entitled The Shape of Ukraine and contributed to Poetry Performance’s anthology Poems for Ukraine. In early 2023, he brought out a short pamphlet called Snowdrops, featuring new poems on the Ukraine war.

Stephen told Write Out Loud: “After two years of this awful war, my overwhelming feeling is one of sadness at the pointless waste of life and the destruction, coupled with anger at the insane invasion which began and perpetuates this war. I have tried to reflect this in the poems, as well as focusing on some of the individual tragedies, such as the death of a 23-day old baby and that of the writer Victoria Amelina.”

He added: “If people are interested, I would be pleased to send them a PDF copy free by email. Printed copies are available but, as you know, it is quite complicated to send individual copies to the UK by post now.”


You can read the title poem of the new collection here




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hicks petty

Wed 13th Mar 2024 10:42

His work stands as a testament to the role of poets and artists in bearing witness to history and evoking empathy and understanding in times of conflict.

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