Mykola Bazhan (1904-1983) was one of the major 20th century Ukrainian poets to write in Ukrainian, rather than Russian. A recent bilingual anthology, “Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul”: Mykola (Nik) Bazhan’s Early Experimental Poetry, edited by Oksana Rosenblum, Lev Fridman, and Anzhelika Khyzhnya, makes the poet’s avant garde verse available in English for the first time. While his poems were declared anti-proletarian in the 1930s, after Stalin’s death, Bazhan became the head of the Writers’ Union in Ukraine between 1953-1959. As the poet moved from futurism to neoclassicism, and from symbolism to socialist realism, Bazhan’s early verse was hidden and forgotten. Below, we’re publishing two of Bazhan’s poems on circus life, in a nod to International Circus Day on 17 April, and Ukraine’s own admirable national circus tradition. Get your own copy of the book here.