Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Cynthia Huntington

Second Advisor

Victoria Somoff

Third Advisor

Ilya Kaminsky


‘Ukrainian Beauty’ is a collection of poetry that emerged from my two years in MALS. It confronts the misrepresentation of a female body and experience in a male-dominant society of a rising democracy.

The poetry collection commences with an essay, ‘Ukrainian Beauty—91’ and beyond,’ which delves into the historical and political backdrop of the first national pageant, ‘Ukrainian Beauty,’ held in February 1991, a pivotal year marked by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The 20 poems in the collection reference the late 1980s-1990s artworks by the Kharkiv School of Photography and Odesa Conceptual Artists, Les Podervianskyi’s radio plays, texts of post-Chornobyl Ukrainian poets (Oksana Zabuzhko, Mariyana Kiyanoska), as well as films (‘Miss USSR’ (1989) by Richard Denton, ‘Chronicles of Fortinbras’ (2001) by Oksana Chepelyk), articles, and research papers.

Foreword: ‘Don’t Miss USSR—89’ is a dramatic one-act poem that combines the realities of Soviet deficit with pageant glamour and creates a surrealistic image of the last years of the Soviet Union, visible through the transparent skins of the participants of the first beauty pageant in the USSR.

The main body of poems utilizes experimental poetry methods to emphasize the questions of misrepresentation, (self)censorship, and fading memories.

The collection of poems is structured as a pointe that starts with the generalized image of beauty thriving on the bayonet field and develops in the dimension of private, telling stories of three generations of women in my family whose lives are overshadowed by personal tragedies.