It is an honor and a delight to introduce this prose by noted writer Vasyl Makhno, who has published across genres and around the world. In “The Messiah from Smyrna,” Makhno shows us, in the grand tradition of philosophers like Paul Ricouer and Julia Kristeva, that time – and how we imagine the shape of historical narratives – is not only arbitrary but politically charged. By giving us a glimpse of alternative ways of structuring our experience of time and history, Makhno ultimately calls into question the master narratives that limit, misrepresent, and reduce experience.
Vasyl Makhno is a Ukrainian poet, prose writer, essayist, and translator. He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry: Skhyma (1993), Caesar’s Solitude (1994), The Book of Hills and Hours (1996), The Flipper of the Fish (2002), 38 Poems about New York and Some Other Things (2004), Cornelia Street Café: New and Selected Poems (2007), Winter Letters (2011), I Want to be Jazz and Rock’n’Roll (2013), Bike (2015), Jerusalem Poems (2016), Paper Bridge (2017), A Poet, the Ocean and Fish (2019) and most recently One Sail House (2021). He has also published a book of short stories, The House in Baiting Hollow (2015), a novel, The Eternal Calendar (2019), and four books of essays, The Gertrude Stein Memorial Cultural and Recreation Park (2006), Horn of Plenty (2011), Suburbs and Borderland (2019), and Biking along the Ocean (2020). Makhno’s works have been widely translated into many languages; his books have been published in Germany, Israel, Poland, Romania, Serbia and the US.
He translated Zbigniew Herbert’s, Janusz Szuber’s, Bohdan Zadura’s and Anna Frajlich’s poetry from Polish into Ukrainian, and edited an anthology of young Ukrainian poets from the 1990’s. He is the recipient of Kovaliv Fund Prize (2008), Serbia’s International Povele Morave Prize in Poetry (2013), the BBC Book of the Year Award (2015), and International Ukrainian-Jewish Literary Prize “Encounter” (2020). Makhno currently lives with his family in New York City.