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Iryna Shuvalova

Iryna Shuvalova


St John's College

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The easiest way to define my research would be to say that I focus on war writing.

This would be almost true, except that it is war speaking and war singing that fascinate me most. In other words, I am looking at oral poetry, exploring how it reflects armed conflict and post-conflict trauma: what it does when confronting these issues, and how it does it.

At this point in my research, I define ‘oral poetry’ very broadly: from traditional songs to contemporary pop, or pieces performed at poetry slams. Meanwhile, the social and historical setting of my project is very specific: it is Ukraine in times of the War in Donbass (March 2014 – present).

Over these past couple of years, Ukrainians faced an acute need to somehow put an unspeakable experience of war into words, which brought back to the surface the visual and textual vocabulary shaped by the earlier tradition. I am looking at how this vocabulary merged with the contemporary discourse, becoming transformed and transforming the new context it permeated.

One of the things that interest me most at the moment is digital orality – specifically, the way oral poetry exists on the Web and in the connected society. Arguably, the Web disrupts the traditional vision of the oral/written continuum in a number of exciting ways. I am now looking into how Ukrainian oral poetry about war, in its many shapes and flavours, exists in the digital space.

My interest in poetry is closely linked to my own work as a poet. I published several collections of verse and struggled myself to speak of the unspeakable, with varying degrees of success. 

Selected Publications:


  • Az. Collection of poems / Iryna Shuvalova. – Kyiv: Elektroknyha, 2014.
  • Os. Collection of poems / Iryna Shuvalova. – Kyiv: Smoloskyp, 2014.
  • Ran. Collection of poems / Iryna Shuvalova. – Kyiv: Smoloskyp, 2011.


  • 120 pages of “Sodom”. The queer literature anthology / Edited by. – Kyiv: Krytyka, 2009.


  • Martel, Yann.  Life of Pi / Translated by. – Lviv:  VSL (Old Lion’s Publishing House), 2016.


  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2016)
  • AHSS Language Bursary (2016, 2017)

Undergraduate Teaching

  • 2013 – 2014: Multilingual Graduate Tutor, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Dartmouth College
  • 2013 – 2014: Writing tutor, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Dartmouth College
  • 2009 – 2011: Seminar Instructor in Philosophical Hermeneutics, Faculty of Philosophy, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

Other Teaching and Outreach

  • 2014 – ongoing: Peer reviewer for Fulbright Program in Ukraine
  • 2015 – 2016: Lecturer for the EducationUSA resource center in Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 2015 – 2016: Mentor and training coordinator for ConnectUkrainians outreach project
  • 2015 – Developer and leader of ПисаТИ nation-wide writing workshop series (Ukraine)

Languages (in addition to English)

Ukrainian, Russian – native proficiency; German, Polish and Spanish – limited working proficiency; French, Greek (modern) and Italian – elementary proficiency.