Both on my father’s and my mother’s side, I am a descendant of Ukrainian peasants: people who attended at best some years of primary school, and often none whatsoever. Only a few of them could read and write. Considering this, I have been incredibly privileged to access great education, both in Ukraine, where I studied Philosophy and Translation, and in the US, where I earned my MA in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College on a Fulbright Scholarship. Throughout my whole life, as a poet, translator, editor and writing coach I have been fascinated with the transformative and expressive power of the word, both oral and written, and its impact on people’s lives. At Cambridge, I plan to research the oral poetry tradition in Ukraine and its connections to contemporary written poetry. Because of my country’s colonial past, the majority of Ukrainians, including my great-grandparents and their ancestors, were discouraged from acquiring literacy, or even from communicating in their own language. Sung poetry often remained their only available means of self-expression. In many ways, I owe the honor of having been selected as a Gates Cambridge scholar to these unsilenceable people of mine. Through my work I seek to rediscover their lost voices, and make them heard.