To Defenders of Freedom

Ukrainian poet Maksym Kryvtsov was killed in action on January 7

The death of 33-year-old poet and Ukrainian defender Maksym Kryvtsov was reported by his mother, Nadiia Kryvtsova, on her Facebook page. “Darkness… No light… No day…” the woman wrote.

Maksym Kryvtsov was born in Rivne in 1990 and graduated from the Kyiv National University of Technology and Design. He took part in the Revolution of Dignity and in 2014 volunteered in the ranks of the Right Sector Ukrainian Volunteer Corps to defend the country against Russia’s aggression in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

From 2016 to 2019, he served in the National Guard of Ukraine, where he received the call sign “Dali” after the Spanish artist Salvador Dali. As Maksym himself explained, it was due to his mustache, which he was growing and twirling similar to an expressionist painter.

For some time, he worked at the Veteran Hub, a center for rehabilitation and adaptation of Ukrainian veterans. In 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he turned to the frontline as a volunteer.

“My position is a machine gunner. If there is a machine gun at the position, then I am a machine gunner, if there is a grenade launcher, then I am a grenade launcher!” he said in 2020 about the war.

In 2023, Nash Format Publishing House published Maksym’s first collection, “Poems from the Loophole”.  It was recognized by PEN Ukraine, an NGO protecting freedom of speech and authors‘ rights, as one of the best Ukrainian books of 2023. 

His poems have also been published in collections with other poets: “The Book of Love 2.0. Love and War”, “Where You Are at Home: 112 Poems about Love and War,” “Lullaby of the 21st Century Vol. 1: What Lulls You to Sleep?”, “Between the Sirens. New Poems of War”.

One of Maksym’s most famous poems, “Yellow Tape,” was set to music by the Ukrainian band Yurkesh.

The poet with his first book in his hands.
Photo: Maksym Kryvtsov / Facebook

The death of the Ukrainian poet became known on January 7, 2024. Numerous friends and acquaintances remember Maksym as an extremely talented and sincere person.

“He took pictures, wrote poetry, and fought. Talking to him was unlike anything else at all. I wondered what a person like him was doing in a place like this. Wherever I met him, whether at war or at home, this question was always relevant. It was like he was from another planet, in a good way,” Marusіa Zvirobiі, a soldier, wrote on Facebook.

Ukrainian artists on social media call Maksym a new generation of the “Executed Renaissance,” thus referring to all the victims among the Ukrainian intelligentsia who were persecuted and killed by the Soviet regime.

“I’m looking at the photo – the tattoo on his arm says ‘I will die, I will die in wild Patagonia’. The Ukrainian poet tattooed the words of another Ukrainian poet on his arm. One was shot in 1937 (the poet Mykhailo Semenko, who was shot in the USSR – ed.), and the other was killed by the same enemies yesterday. One was 44, the other was 33,” Iryna Tsilyk, filmmaker, wrote on Facebook.

In his last published poem, Kryvtsov wrote about death.

“My shotgun
my poor thing
my change of clothes and equipment
will be given to the new recruits
I wish it was spring
to finally
like a violet.”

The farewell ceremony for Maksym Kryvtsov was held in St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral in Kyiv on January 11.

By Dmytro Larin / Ukrainska Pravda

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