Sunday Book Review – From Volyn to Kherson: Interpretations of the War in Ukraine by Frank Prem #freeverse #poetry

My Sunday Book Review is for Frank Prem’s moving new release, freeverse poetry with his interpretation of the war in Ukraine – From Volyn to Kherson. This is a most moving collection of tellings from the vision of Prem based on some of the many articles written about the heinous war in Ukraine.


From Volyn To Kherson, tells the stories of hardship and suffering and bewilderment experienced by the people of Ukraine in the early weeks of the 2022 Russian invasion and war.

The collection draws on news reports and social media postings during the most un-curated war the world has ever witnessed, interpreting and translating the raw emotion of this wartime experience.

There is no part of Ukraine that has been left untouched by this war, and no part of the poet left untouched by these stories of the Ukraine.

This book will be part of a series.


My 5 Star Review:

This book is a deeply emotional read as told through the vision of author Frank Prem in his style for which he’s known – freeverse poetry in his deep observational writing. In these stories, the author has taken from what he’s seen on the news, and from headlines and stories across the globe reported by brave journalists, and evokes his own heart and compassion in his tellings and interpretations, leaving us, the readers, to absorb the enormity of the effects on human life and the human condition.

Prem introduces his stories with a question at the beginning – ‘Which of us will be Ukraine, tomorrow?’

“People used to think about new car or IPhone, but nobody was thinking about peace. Now, we are dreaming of it. When old people used to wish each other peace, we didn’t understand what they meant. Now we do.”

Every one of Prem’s poems pierced through my heart. I will share here just two of many heartwrenching tellings:


In okhtyrka (the tsentral’ne)

they are preparing

the cemetery now

in okhtyrka


and his platoon

are gone

vacuum bombed

air taken


of them

and then

they died


in okhtyrka

they are digging


on grave

I think

the cemetery


the tsvyntar

it doesn’t matter


there won’t be any funerals held

for awhile

and both of them

will be overrun


too long


nobody asked us (in russia)

helping them

is treason



is nothing


will be different now


is the changing

of our world


into darkness

do you know . . .


asked us


is the true


knowing that none

of us

really matter

and to speak


or horror

or sorrow-

for ukraine . . .


is a crime


43 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review – From Volyn to Kherson: Interpretations of the War in Ukraine by Frank Prem #freeverse #poetry

  1. Thanks for sharing your review of Frank’s new book on such an important topic. It is so difficult to know what to do or say! Best of luck to Frank and I hope peace finally gets its day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debby, the poems you quoted are very touching. No one would have thought that the war that Russian imposed on Ukraine would have lasted so long, with so many casualties. Yet, the Ukrainians remain brave and determined. It seems that throughout the world evil people go without punishment. It is a sad situation. Hopefully, this war will end soon. There has been enough suffering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Carol for chiming in with your perspective on the war. You said it – it seems that so many evil people freely roam without punishment. We anxiously await karma for those. Amen to ending the greed war. ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Frank Prem Poetry and commented:
    Thank you, D. G. Kaye (Debby) for your wonderful review of the From Volyn to Kherson poetry collection.

    It is beyond my comprehension that the conflict continues on such very spurious grounds. ANd worsens, if that is possible.

    Thanks so much, Debby – I’m reblogging this to my place, hoping readers will flock across to yours.


  4. The verses you selected Debbie certainly sum up this terrible war. Not many writers would try to write in verse or prose about it, too vast a tragedy. It is usually left to brave correspondents on the spot who speak movingly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What powerful poems, Debby. I imagine this book is heart-wrenching, as this devastating war slogs on. What’s happening to us when the whole world seems powerless to stop one man determined to destroy a peaceful nation and its people? Thanks so much for sharing your review and two of Frank’s moving poems.

    Liked by 1 person

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