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Life on the borders of four different countries, dialect that is hardly understood by locals even, not mentioning other people, numerous minorities and nationalities, mountainous wisdom and very authentic perception of the world – all those factors more or less unify all of the modern writers that are mentioned in this article.

T-shirt expert Bandy Sholtes

— Words on the chest of the person – willingly or not – tell some info about him or her. What that person consumes, what breathes in. Let there be no letter on the clothes, not even a single line – it is a positioning as well, a barcode itself, some particular smell from the mouth too.

Bandy, also called Andriy, or Sholtes, is a famous figure in Uzhgorod. He is the person that turned the sayings on t-shirts into life philosophy.  One of the ideas is the t-shirt with inscriptions (Bandy calls them “tank tops”)  with a transparent little pocket to be able to change the inscriptions. In case a customer wants to change the inscription more frequently than a t-shirt itself. Bandy is kind of forever young and very contemporary philosopher. The stories behind those inscriptions are very alike with Facebook posts, some of them are actual Facebook posts. And they represent credo, and motto, and truth of life translated into few words. Bandy is a frequent visitor of music festivals, his favourite is Sziget in Budapest. He even wrote a book about it called “The Island Sziget or Iggy Pop’s Panties“, which is expected to be out shortly (perhaps, it is available by the time this article is out) published by “Luta Sprava”. Bandy Sholtes observes the life. His Facebook page is a mix of everyday stories of Uzhgorod routine, and more than that. He writes in Russian, however, speaks Ukrainian, Russian, and even Hungarian.

There is another released book about the main focus – “T-shirtology. The common theory of a t-shirt. Half warp knitting novel“. This book is a peculiar  mix of witty ironic t-shirts inscriptions and stories related to him, in total 257. Even now in his free time Bandy continues to paint t-shirts, and these inscriptions are practically aphorismes, which he creates so carefully, as if he makes a sketch for the future tattoo. As if for the entire life.

— Of course, there is no any T-shirt truth.  Even a common t-shirt with ordinary AC&DC (yep, exactly, AC&DC, you read it right) has a specific meaning for those who wear it. A little boy states to the whole world that he is grown up already. A divorced bachelor hints that he is full of himself trying to look young and still cool. An ex-rocker tries to persuade the passers that he is not just an alcoholic, but he is a meloman. A womanizer comes to the type of concert, but deeply inside he hopes to hook up with thaaaat one obviously not sober chick wearing Korn t-shirt. And somebody just couldn’t find anything else in the wardrobe…

Recommended to read to find out how to express your philosophy in a single inscription on the t-shirt, and for hundreds of funny stories about life between the borders.

Mountainous intellectual Petro Midyanka

— …Further will go, slide, till you see the white top of the mountain, looks very similar to Fuji, but that is familiar plain, there is no blooming roses at the foot of it, exotic fern has been growing here for ages. Then you freeze speechlessly, like that dry fern, which was not covered with snow.

Petro Midyanka became well-known in literature field only after year 2012, when he became a laureate of Shevchenkivska award. Midyanka is a teacher of Ukrainian language and literature in the village called Shyrokiy Luh in Zakarpattya, actually one of the best poets and not so public intellectual. Midyanka’s poetry is full of mountains, nature, sometimes nostalgia, however, never any women. The poet which writes only about Zakarpattya, because other regions come out “not really organically”. There is accentual-syllabic verses, and blank verses, and many dialectisms. Even such dialect, which is unclear for villagers of Midyanka, not even mentioning people from other areas. The influence from nearby Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland is especially noticeable. To read Midyanka means to meditate, feel another side of Zakarpattya, which is so natural, delicate, elusive. Midyanka’s art tells also about American artist of Lemkos descent, the father of pop art Andy Warhol, also called Andriy Warhola – another mysterious personality of Carpathians.

His parents were immigrants from Rusyns village Mykovo, nowadays the territory of Slovakia. In 1920s they immigrated to USA looking for a job. In poem “Servus, mister Warhola” Midyanka is thinking about identity of Warhola, whether he is a Rusyn or an Ukrainian, and also about combination of american and Rusyns, rock and jazz, pop art and Greek-Catholic faith. This poem became lyrics for a song of  the band called Plach Yeremiyi. You can dive in universe of Midyanka reading his miscellanies “The ladder into the sky”/”Luitra v nebo”, “40 sonnets”/”40 sonetiv”“Poems from hearth”/”Virshi z podu”. Recommended to read to see how the progressive intellect merges with philosophical perception of the world, and local, Zakarpattya’s outlook.

Persistent romanticist Andriy Lyubka

— It’s important to understand: even if European integration is beneficial for Ukraine, for us, Transcarpathians, it is similar to death. Without borders we will all perish here. Let them consider us second grade, let’s only keep the borders! There is always smuggling, where the border is. An smuggling is the Bible, Torah, and Quran of Transcarpathians.

Perhaps, only lazy ones or completely unaware of the cultural news of last year still do not know who is Andriy Lyubka and what is about the novel “Carbide”. The PR campaign for the novel, telling about smugglers tunnel to EU located in Zakarpattya, was extremely successful. Lyubka is a poet, prosaist, essayist, interpreter, and generally very productive Transcarpathian author. Young and handsome, which is not an obstacle to publish a new book annually. He has started from poetry. The very first literature collections were “Eight months of schizophrenia”“Terrorism”“Forty bucks plus tips”. Then he continued with stories in books called “Killer”, “Sleep with women”, and finally reached novels, for instance, “Carbide”. And eventually returned to narrations. The miscellany of stories about solitude “The room for sadness” will be issued specially for Publishers’ Forum. Lyubka, romantic, sometimes funny,  writes about ordinary and not so much Transcarpathians, and also translates about Romanis. Recommended to read to get introduced to sensitive and romantic side of Zakarpattya and to get to know about smugglers’ reality of local life.

Transcarpathian philosopher Myroslav Dochynets

— The time will come, and you won’t be willing, you won’t be able to be the same as before. It can happen all at once. And a person too. Change. Wear new shirt on your body. Dress your soul in new garments. And don’t wait for the new morning or Monday to start. Become a person now.

Myroslav Dochynets is a writer and journalist from Khust. Readable and popular author. He has written 19 books. Dochynets became popular in 2010th after publishing the book “Many years most. Happy years. Commandments of 104 years old Andriy Voron – how to live in happiness”. The book became one of the 6th most popular publications with 60 thousand copies. Two years after the novel about the same character “Vichnyk. The confession on the passover of the spirit” was nominated for Shevchenkivska award. It is the novel about Zakarpattya’s Robinson, Monte Cristo, and Skovoroda combined in one person. Dochynets claims, that it is the real person, and he just transferred his advices into a book. He received Shevchenkivska award a bit later, for the first two novels  – “Krynychar. Diyaryush of the richest man of Mukacheve dominiya” and “Mountainous. Waters of God watercourses” in 2014.  Dochynets is being often compared to Brazilian author Paulo Coelho – for parable philosophy and remarkable popularity of his books. Dochynets does not recognize this comparison. In every book in a form of  various advices, Dochynets tells how to live your life. He speaks on behalf of Andriy Voron, or other wise people. Advices are related to how to drink alcohol, which underwear to wear, how to choose a wife, what to eat, how to become “friends” with money, and so on. Advices of Andriy Voron by Dochynets:

— In terms of physiology of the body, there are three main factors: consumption a lot of pure water (all diseases come from lack of hydration), healthy diet without overeating, everyday movement till first sweat. In spiritual way – it is the need to do something that will live longer than you. It is the ability to take your destiny, be opened to your fate, learn to love it.

He calls Mukachevo little Jerusalem, communicates with local common people. Travelling disappoints Dochynets, however, his characters visit a lot of countries. He believes “you are needed the most, where you were born”. He has two houses – one for living, another one – to write there. Also a garden with more than 200 trees. Recommended to read to understand versatility of Transcarpathian philosophy, and to receive few dozen advices for everyday.

Secrecy antic Mykhailo Chukhran

— And tasted I ‘broiler thigh’, aka, chicken thigh. And it’s suffocating me, and my face is burning. And goosebumps on my skin, and wheeze from my throat… Isn’t it, dear people, bird flu?!

Mykhailo Chukhran is secrecy humorist from Vynogradivsk district, Transcarpathian answer to Les Podervianskyi. The author of jokes, famous by narratives “Bachelor’s confessions”“Birdie flu”“Flood-2001” and remakes like “Tatyana’s letter to Onegin”. His jokes are performed by others, because Mykhailo Chukhran considers himself unsocial and does not like to speak in public. His jokes you can hear from stand-up artists and toast-masters, such as Vasyl Marodvi from Svaliava, Yuriy Melnyk from Irshava, Sviatoslav Gal from Vynohradiv, Mykhailo Negrya from Khust district. Chukhran writes about everything that happens around, with autochthonous humor of Zakarpattya and unchanged dialect. He owns published collection and CD recorded together with another Transcarpathian antic Pavlo Chuchka. His works are rarely published, because his first experience was not really pleasant. The manuscript was published only after few years in Lviv’s newspaper under another surname.

He writes about Zakarpattya, how it is in reality, and, of course, about people of Zakarpattya, Euro-2012, the construction of roads, dialects, bird flu, and other parts of routine. He interprets famous writings into dialect of Zakarpattya, and if needed, he comes up with greetings. Recommended to read to get introduced to dialects of Zakarpattya, local humor, and locals’ vision of Ukrainian and worldwide problems.

Witty linguist Pavlo Chuchka

— I love manure, its smell, when you can smell it across the village, when a chicken finds a seed in it, when a full sparrow sings sitting on it. I love manure, when it comes from a cow, when ships make noise around it, when owls fly above it at night, and in the morning flies drink nectar from it…

Pavlo Chuchka is Ukrainian linguist, humorist, historian, Doctor of philology. He is also the owner of the unique and the only one in Ukraine tavern-museum “Detsa yu notarya”, the creator of International festival of humor “Carpathian verbiage”, and in the past he was the head of the village council and deputy. He writes poems in Zakarpattya’s (Rysun’s) dialect. His grandfather passed on the passion of writing to him. The letters, that he was writing to his friends during studying in Kyiv, were published in a collection later. All 10 thousand copies were sold out, which is considered to be a great success for a Ukrainian writer. The author of miscellanies “Detsa yu notarya”“Vychurky a la Baranyntsi”, vychurky – it’s sayings, which are used in the village called Baranyntsi. Recommended to read to laugh at the first place, and at the end to cognize the beauty, wonders, humor, unusuality, and exoticism of Zakarpattya’s dialect. In case there will be something hard to understand, and the style is meant to be so, Chuchka compiled “Ukrainian-Ukrainian dictionary of unknown words used by Ukrainians of west regions of Zakarpattya”. And his father, also Pavlo Chuchka, is the author of monograph “Surnames of Transcarpathian Ukrainians. Historical and etymological dictionary”, where there are 740 pages of explanation of the origins of 12 thousand of surnames of Zakarpattya. Recommended to read to satisfy your interest about cultural exotic Zakarpattya.

Overseas researcher of souls Oksana Lutsyshyna

— I listen to songs of America, its mountains ranges and train in the tunnel, its silent high roads, its sharp southern Gothic, its flies above dead bodies, its black ocean and green prickly sea.

Oksana Lutsyshyna is a poet, prosaic, was born in Uzhgorod, literary critic and a researcher of Bruno Schulz and Walter Benjamin. However, she writes from overseas for a long time. The main characters of her writings are immigrants, in particular immigrants from Ukraine. In miscellany of poems “I listen to a song of America” she describes American rhythm of life, American people, and of course, she writes about love. This theme is the heart of the novel called “Love life”, that came out last year.  It is the love story with intellectual overtones in the form of set of Tarot. Lutsyshyna examines the life of a woman outside the motherland, in another culture, where the rules of relationships are completely different, and it is not possible to read and learn all of that. Oksana Zabuzhko told us, that this novel was born from her book “Field research of Ukrainian sex”, where the story is about Ukrainian woman that moved to USA to teach. You will not find in her books any dialects or humor of Zakarpattya. It’s all about life outside the pages and realizing yourself across the borders.

Recommended to read to understand the soul from Zakarpattya overseas, its integrity and permanence.

The material is prepared by

Founder of Ukraїner:

Bogdan Logvynenko


Ksenia Riznyk

Graphic designer:

Yevhenia Haydamaka


Maria Fomenko

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