Bohdan Boichuk’s Childhood Reveries: A Migrant’s Nostalgia, or, Documenting Pain in Poetry


  • Maria G. Rewakowicz



war and poetry, childhood memories, migrant displacement, Bohdan Boichuk, Gaston Bachelard


This paper examines Bohdan Boichuk’s poetry by looking into the role his childhood
memories played in forming his poetic imagination. Displaced by World War II, the
poet displays a unique capacity to transcend his traumatic experiences by engaging in creative writing. Eyewitnessing war atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis does not destroy his belief in the healing power of poetry; on the contrary, it makes him appreciate poetry as the only existentially worthy enterprise. Invoking Gaston Bachelard’s classic work The Poetics of Reveries: Childhood, Language, and the Cosmos, I argue that Boichuk’s vivid childhood memories, however painful they might be, helped him poetically recreate and reimagine fateful moments of his migrant life.


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Boichuk, Bohdan. Virshi vybrani i peredostanni [Poems, Selected and Next to the Last]. New York: Suchasnist’, 1983.

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Rudman, Mark. “Introduction.” In Memories of Love: Selected Poems of Bohdan Boychuk. Translated by David Ignatow and Mark Rudman, 7–14. Riverdale-on-Hudson, NY: Sheep Meadow Press, 1989.