Hanna Komar – Вызвалі або бяжы (Make free or run)


Hanna Komar – Вызвалі або бяжы (Make free or run)
Illustration: Lizavieta Dubinčyna
Photos: xenia svirid (@urbanparadox)
hochroth Minsk
Berlin, 2023
ISBN 978-3-949850-19-6
Language: Belarusian

The new poetry book by Hanna Komar is like a mouthful of pain. Despite the predominance of this motif in the artistic world of the poet, here it can be perceived from a new point of view. “Make free or run” is a call in which the social and personal are intertwined, creating an artistic credo – “to be stronger than the circumstances.” That is why in the world that appears on the pages of the book as if behind bars, a poetic word feels like a breath of air. It cannot be taken away even in a musty prison or a paddy wagon, as it is impossible to take away inner freedom, unrestrained and immeasurable, and sincerity towards the world.

Such is the feeling evoked by the poems written in 2018-2022, when the poet mostly lived in Belarus. Arrests on the streets of Minsk, beatings in a cell “for four prisoners, where I was the sixteenth”, testimonies of the war in Ukraine, which is experienced not by abstract victims, but by loved ones and friends. All this creates a chronicle transmitted through the perception of a young woman. In the tortured and unfree world, she does not lose what is possibly the only right she still has – to be herself.

Hanna Komar is a poet, translator and writer. Author of poetry collections “Страх вышыні” (“Fear of heights”), “Recycled” and “Мы вернемся” (“We will return”). Laureate of the Maksim Bahdanovič “Debut” for the translation of the collection of poems by Charles Bukowski, “Air and Light and Time and Space”. Received the 2020 Freedom of Speech Award of the Norwegian Writers’ Union. Member of the Union of Belarusian Writers and the Belarusian PEN. Honorary member of the English PEN. The works have been translated into Ukrainian, Polish, Swedish, German, Norwegian, Czech, Lithuanian, Russian and Slovenian. Komar translates her own works into English. Graduated from the University of Westminster with a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. Postgraduate student at the University of Brighton. In her work, Komar deals with the childhood traumas and relationships with parents, the influence of patriarchal society on a woman’s life, the domestic and state violence, healing wounds and rebuilding oneself.