Sonya Bilocerkowycz is the author of On Our Way Home from the Revolution (Ohio State UP/Mad Creek Books, 2019), winner of the Gournay Prize for a debut essay collection. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Colorado Review, Ninth Letter, Lit Hub, the Normal School, and elsewhere. Prior to earning an MFA from Ohio State, Bilocerkowycz served as a Fulbright grantee in Belarus, an educational recruiter in the Republic of Georgia, and an instructor at Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. Currently, she teaches creative writing at SUNY Geneseo.
There’s a poem by the Polish writer Adam Zagajewski called “The Revolution Has Ended.” In it, the speaker describes things they notice after the revolution: dogs walking in circles, peaches on tables, rain. I’m always thinking about this poem, but perhaps more so since Zagajewski’s passing last spring. The dogs move in loops because nothing has truly ended—revolution is a circular word. What is a writer’s relationship to these patterns? To all the daily atrocities and complicities she feels compelled to document?
I don’t have good answers, only a sense of being implicated, and I suspect these questions will eventually give way to harder ones. This year I’ve been worried about futility, and so the award from the National Endowment for the Arts comes as a shock. Thank you, NEA, for reminding me that the responsibility for such questions can be shared. I’m grateful for this immense encouragement to keep writing.