Taras Shevchenko, the national bard of Ukraine, is a founder of modern Ukrainian literature and language. A champion of people’s freedom, with his poetry, he played a leading role in the formation of the Ukrainian national identity and consciousness. Political and revolutionary, his poems which speak to the struggles of all oppressed peoples have been translated into over 100 languages.
Shevchenko’s poetry ranges from romantic ballads and heroic poems, to philosophical and visionary meditations, in which he reflects on the meaning of life and the future. His literary legacy consists of 237 poetic works (ballads, poems, lyrical verses, elegies, satires, and meditations), nine novellas, a journal, an autobiography, and plays. They were composed in different periods of his life and in various geographical locations – Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Due to tsarist censorship, very few of Shevchenko’s poems were published during his lifetime.
The poems are presented in their original translations.