Sometimes mere existence is resistance, especially when you’re a woman in the midst of a war the entire world is watching. In Episode 9, our Senior Community Systems Coordinator here at Girls Write Now Lisbett Rodriguez interviews Ukranian-American poet and Girls Write Now Mentor Vera Sirota.
Vera Sirota is a poet, freelance writer and teacher. She was a NYC public school teacher and teaching artist specializing in writing instruction. She wrote her master’s thesis about using photography as a writing tool for English Language Learners. Vera was raised in a bilingual and bicultural home as the granddaughter of Ukrainian immigrants. Vera serves as a mentor for Girls Write Now, NYC’s premier creative writing organization for high school girls and gender-expansive youth. She is a finalist for The Poetry Barn’s 2022 Poetic License contest. Vera’s poems are forthcoming in the anthology: Ukrainian American Poets Respond. Her work was also published in The Poetry Distillery.
Favorite Authors & Artists
Lucille Clifton, Women of the Beat Generation, Ksenia Rychtycka (who is also my aunt!)
Rusalka is the Ukrainian word for mermaid. This poem is dedicated to one of the special rusalkas in my life.
More than 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine with the onslaught of Putin’s brutal invasion. More than 70 years ago, my Dido (Grandfather) Osyp, Babtsia (Grandmother) Maria, and Teta (Aunt) Helen escaped Ukraine too, thanks to the heroic efforts of a Ukrainian-American woman named Mary (Marusia) Beck.