World Academy of Carpatho-Rusyn Culture


Kalynych, Ivan

Ivan Kalynych was born in 1924 in the Khust region of what was then Czechoslovakia and is now the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. When he graduated from the Khust gymnasium in 1944, the country was under Hungarian annexation. He then served for two years with the Soviet Red Army. Upon demobilization, he entered Uzhhorod State University, where he studied Russian language and literature. He taught in Khust schools until his retirement in 1981. During this time, he was also active in the visual arts and mounted thirty-four exhibits of his own work. In 1993, he was named "Honored Master of Folk Art of Ukraine" by the president of Ukraine, L. M. Kravchuk.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Kalynych began to devote special attention to literature and published three books of verse: Smiesia Verkhovyna [Verkhovyna Laughs, 1966]; Poetychni yskryntsi [Poetic Sparkles, 2000]; and Ver'khovyns'ki vechurnytsi [Verkhovyna Gatherings, 2000]. His traditional and patriotic folk-style verse was warmly received by Rusyn readers in Transcarpathia, and more than 30 of his verses have been set to music. His themes range from love and subtle eroticism to social and political concerns. Kalynych is a master of folk humor, as in this depiction of village women:

В осени коло рікы На мажорнуй нотї Выхваляли цімборкы Свої всї чесноты

--Хоть менї вже шістьдисять,-- Каже Анця вголос,-- З головы менї не впав Ни оден щи волос! --А менї вже сімдисять, Похвалилась Люба,-- Я до нынї зберегла Власнї билї зубы! --Мне уж восемьдесят лет,-- Валя роскачалась,-- До сих пор я, не секрет, Девочкой осталась!

[In autumn by the river / On a major note / The ladies boasted to one another / Of all their virtues: // -- Though I'm already sixty, -- / Antsia says loudly, -- / From my head has fallen / Not a single hair! // And I'm already seventy, -- / Boasted Liuba, -- / Until now I have kept / All my own white teeth! // I'm already eighty, -- Valia laughed, -- / And, it's no secret / I am still a virgin!]

Kalynych has also been actively involved in discussions concerning the formation of the Rusyn literary language for Transcarpathia and in compiling a Rusyn-Ukrainian dictionary.

Elaine Rusinko

 Copyright © 2013