Ukraine. It has always been in the middle of things, or in the way of things. The Vikings, Slavic tribes, Mongols, Cossacks, Turks, Tartans, Poles, and Russians have been trampling through it for ages. It was the frayed rope in a centuries-long tug-of-war among the Russian Empire, Poland, and Austria. During World War II, it was the battleground of the Nazis against the Red Army.
Wikimedia Commons: Yarl.PL
Kiev—the city where I'll be staying—is deeply aware of borders; the Dnieper River bisects the city into East and West halves—in fact, it does this for the entire country. At one point, Poland controlled Ukraine's West, Muscovy the East. Then it was under Russian control and became part of the USSR.
And this has been the usual way of thinking about it: the border defined by what surrounds it, the thing between other actual things. In fact, "Ukraine" means "borderland."
But it is more than this. As a young country (it has been independent for only 20 years), it has an ancient culture, and, like a teenager gone off to college, it is struggling to find its identity. This is an exciting time for Ukraine, and I'd like to study it.
While staying in Kiev, I want to complete a creative project. The final product will be a hand-sewn chapbook exploring the concept of borders, not as the thing defined by its neighbors, but as the thing defining itself and what identity is formed by existing as a borderline. The creative media will also be borderline. It will primarily consist of between-genre creative writing—work defined by the larger genres it borders with terms like prose poetry, flash fiction, lyrical essays—demonstrating that it is not just stuff not quite fitting the larger categories of poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction, but rather its own thing. It will also feature collage, itself a border category that is rejected by many art critics as crafty found work and by crafting scrapbookers as sloppy nonsense.
By pledging now, you are pre-ordering this book, one of the original collages from the book, a unique card, an additional broadside print, or actively collaborating in the creative process, and whatever other rewards are accorded to your pledge amount. None of this can happen if the full project amount isn't funded by June 4. If it is funded, however, your credit card or PayPal account will be charged at that time and the creative work on your order will begin!
Some of My Recent Collage Cards:
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