I have been writing poetry since I was in middle school. Inspired by Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, and Joseph Brodsky, I had written in Russian at first but then switched to writing and publishing in English. In high school, my poems tended to be very surreal but studying literature academically has led me to polish my work and make my images more precise. Reading Mark Strand, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Haas has also led to my interest in narrative poetry. After writing my dissertation, I was inspired to pursue my own creative potential.
My first volume of poetry, Parachute, came out of a wonderful writing group in San Francisco. This book explores Soviet family history, personal mythologies, nature, as well as the process of becoming a new mother.
My second volume of poems, A Stranger Home, emerged from my experience of coming back home to New York city in 2016. The book explores grief and (re)birth, often casting these emotions in mythological and fairy-tale-esque settings and paying attention to persona and form.
In New York, I have taken workshops with poets Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Tina Chang and am continuing to learn from fellow poets how to craft poems playfully and precisely. Over the last five years, I have done readings at KGB Bar and the Bowery Poetry Club, as well as “Books Are Magic”, Berl’s Poetry Book Shop, and other venues.
See my Goodreads reviews here.
The eyes all over Istanbul, the Late May – Remembering Childhood. How happy you made me, how vast your world is, resigned, stubborn, and beautiful.
Natalya Sukhonos is a poet of precision and empathy. Reading A Stranger Home, one is staggered by the preponderance of both joy and pain in the poet’s life, of which her work is a seamless extension. With roots in Ukraine and a home life in Brooklyn, Sukhonos fluently navigates languages, cultures, and landscapes, offering a poetic vision of a world that is sprawling, yet intimate. These poems are momentous in the Keatsian tradition, engaging personal and historical tragedy while daring us to see the perseverant beauty in things.
The color gold gleams and glistens throughout this glorious new book of poems by Natalya Sukhonos. We see it in her vivid evocations of Ukrainian food, of “golden/rings of fried potatoes, pearly thin slices of bacon/the deep orange/sunset of borscht”; of camouflage jasper gemstone, with its “round lunar surface, burgundy grey/mottled with gold”; of dawn, which appears “like gold dust on concrete.”
But Sukhonos is too aware of the dark history of her native Odessa and her own personal losses to paint these scenes as the remnants of a Golden Age. The bright images of food haunt the mind of a man starving amid Stalin’s genocide, and jasper is the birthstone of the mother the poet is mourning. Yet a redemptive light pours through the latter pages of the book, as Sukhonos celebrates the birth of two daughters. A Stranger Home is a beautifully grounded book of poetry.
As poet Natalya Sukhonos writes, “All books, all authors have a flavor, a taste….” Her own work is sweet with “the gift of nourishment” between mother and daughter and often intriguingly redolent of the “salted olive oil and scallions” of her native Odessa, Ukraine. “A Stranger Home” makes a welcoming new home for a trove of human wanderings and wonderings.
“[W]hat’s remembering to you now?” asks one poem in Natalya Sukhonos’s sharp and timely collection. These are lyric poems of crucial attention, of efforts to keep alive traditions, tastes, and terrain from the past. Across vast distances of landscape and time, via literal and figurative thirsts and hungers, these poems attentively sing of what matters most and off er maps of both sustenance and survival. Exploring lineage, lore, the Ukraine, motherhood, and the interface between natural and aesthetic realms, her taut yet expansive lyrics recognize beauty in all its largesse while interrogating its fine print, its small fees. Her singing serves as a present-tense suitor of both past and future: amid all the not-knowing of memory and what’s-to-come, the intimacy and keen attention in these poems make home strange in the best of ways.
Readings and events
Learn more here.
Why There Are Words, Sept. 2019
Kelsay Books Authors Read in Manhattan — May 20, 2018
“Our Favorite Things”: Natalya Sukhonos and Katherine E. Young Discuss Their New Poetry Collections
Read the interview.
Another Event: Abnormal Fest, June 28, 2020
- “The Fragrance, the Garden”, poem, in The Saint Ann’s Review Anthology
- “Theater of Bones” and “My Body is a Map of Someone Else’s Life”, Long Shot Books, October 2020
- “Lost in the Stars,” in American Journal of Poetry, July 1st, 2019
- “A Stranger Home,” flash fiction, in Gone Lawn, December 13, 2018
- “The Red Farmhouse” in Literary Mama, November 2018
- “The Art of Unknowing and the Unknowing of Art – A Few Alternatives to Interpretation,” in Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 41.1 (2018)
- “ ‘Similar to Feverish Delirium’: The Fantastic Worlds of Battle as Tolstoy’s Criticism of War in War and Peace,” in Critical Insights: Tolstoy, Salem Press, Fall 2017
- “Horses”, Empty Sink Publishing, April 2015
- “Feathers,” Empty Sink Publishing, April 2015
- “A body, a shell, a husk,” Empty Sink Publishing, April 2015
- “Dirge”, Empty Sink Publishing, April 2015
- “Totoro”, in cahoodaloodaling, October 31, 2014
- “Parachute”, Really System, Issue 4, September 2014
- “Urban Legend”, Yellow Medicine Review, May 2013
- “Jorge Luís Borges: Aesthetic Constructs and the Humanism of Play” in Comedy in Comparative Literature: Essays on Dante, Hoffman, Nietzsche, Wharton, Borges, and Cabrera Infante, ed. David Gallagher (Ceredigion, UK: The Edwin Mellon Press, Ltd., 2010)