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Journeys Part 1: Interview with Dmytro Lazutkin

Dmytro Lazutkin (Дмитро Лазуткін)

With a Growth Mindset we ask, how has the war in Europe, the brutal invasion of Ukraine and global war crimes by the Moscow regime, changed us? What can we learn from the journeys of others — as we navigate our own life journey? That’s what this project is about.

Today’s interview is with Dmytro Lazutkin, a Ukrainian poet & renaissance man, now serving on the front lines in defence of his country, against a brutal invasion and war crimes.

Dmytro started out as a metallurgic engineer, and design engineer at a radar plant. When asked what makes an engineer start writing poetry, he answered: “Better to ask what can make a poet become an engineer”. His memories of working at the plant consist mainly of the wonderful view of Kyiv from its roof.

Dmytro has published several poetry books, including Benzyn. Rеd Book, Arteriya, and Zakladka. Winner of numerous literary prizes, such as: Literary Olympus, Smoloskyp, and Kyiv Laurels, and was shortlisted for the National Shevchenko prize in 2019. Dmytro is a beloved guest at festivals and readings worldwide. He worked as a sports commentator at the Olympic Games (2008-2022),

No longer one of the youngest writers active on the Ukrainian literary scene, the dvokhtysiachnyky (generation of the 2000s) have matured. “Zabuv pin-kod i vsi pomerly” (forgot the pin code and everybody died), in Benzyn (Kyiv: Fakt, 2008) has given way to “Where we hold this earth”, which I now translate and read at the beginning of this interview.

Dmytro has energetically balanced relations with different generations of the Ukrainian scene. He never went back to engineering.

First of a series.

I translated Final Shot (ФІНАЛЬНИЙ КАДР) for this feature. The original may be found on Dmytro’s facebook page.


Today I saw a soldier die.
His leg was blown off at the Avdiivka coke plant

Military medics
Were evacuating him under mortar fire

They put a tourniquet on him
Brought to a stabilisation point

Tried to start the heart

British reporter Jane
took pictures of the doctors’ work

General view: The doctor from the back
Closeup of the fighter’s young face

No more than thirty,
she notes.

And continues to shoot.

The photos are to be spread all over the world’s media
because now everybody’s interested in Avdiivka.
Everyone wants to see
how a fighter of the special operations forces
says goodbye to life.

Torn clothes with spots of fresh blood
a ray of sunshine dividing the operating theatre

On the bright side
the doctor talks about damaged ribs
and a punctured lung
but continues to manipulate
Chances of survival are diminishing

Jane moves along the dark side
looking for a good angle
The medical staff are fussing and getting in her way
to take the final shot

“Let’s get out of here”, I say,
and take her to the yard.

We get into the car in silence

She seems a bit annoyed.
I think I am too.

Just past the checkpoint
Suddenly it starts to rain.

– Dmytro Lazutkin, 17 Nobember 2023

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