Olena Duts'-Faifer / Helena Duc-Fajfer (Олена Дуць-Файфер) was born in 1960 to a family that was deported during the Vistula Operation. The family returned to the Lemko Region in 1961 and Duts'-Faifer grew up and received her elementary education there. At Jagiellonian University in Krakow she earned advanced degrees in Slavic philology, psychology, and art history, and a Ph. D. in East Slavic literature. Her revised doctoral thesis (2001) is a history of Lemko-Rusyn literature: Literatura lemkowska w drugiej polowie XIX in a poczatku XX wieku (Lemko Literature in the Second Half of the Nineteenth and the Beginning of the Twentieth Centuries).
Duts'-Faifer teaches language, literature, and ethnography in the program in Lemko-Rusyn studies at the Advanced School of Education in Krakow. In addition, she has been a leading figure in the Lemko national revival.
She is author of two bilingual Rusyn and Polish collections of poetry: W modlitewnym bluїnierstwie (In Prayerful Blasphemy 1985) and Po obu stronach sіowa / Po obokh stranakh dumky (On Both Sides of the Word 2008). She also compiled and edited an anthology of Lemko literature: Tsy to lem tuha, tsy nadiia (Is It Only Yearning or Is It Hope).
Her book On Both Sides of the Word is a phenomenon in contemporary Rusyn literature. The reader is struck first by the overall plan of the book. Photographs by Krzysztof Kornel Balawender serve to complement and accentuate Duts'-Faifer's poems. In profoundly and thoughtful poetic images and contemporary turns of phrase, the poet celebrates her cultural legacy along with her hope for the future. As she writes in her introduction, entitled "Restoring the Cracks in the Icon," "I am the youngest of the poetic generation that was consolidated around the emotional principle of Pain. … My poetic generation is not only a generation of pain, but also a generation that is building a new House." In her poems one feels pain, but also the joy and strength of a new generation of Rusyn poetry.