|Lesya Ukrainka is a famous Ukrainian poetess. Her real name was Lar-issa Kosach, but she entered the world of literature under the penname Lesya Ukrainka and became known as a brilliant poetess.
Lesya Ukrainka's character and views took shape under the influence of folk traditions and cultural progressives who were friquent visitors at the house of the mother, Ukrainian writer Olena Pchilka.
Lesya Ukrainka's uncle, Mikhailo Drag-omanov, was persecuted by the tsarist government and lived in emigration in Bulgaria. The great Ukrainian composer Mikola Lisenko, and one of the founders of Ukrainian theatre, Mikhailo Staritsky, were close friends of Kosach. Young Lesya was a sensitive girl. She felt deep sympathy for her people who suffered from tsarist national and social oppression. When she was nine, her aunt, the member of national liberation movement, was exiled to Siberia. Lesya responded to this dramatic family event by writing her first poem, "Hope". From that time Lesya Ukrainka constantly raised her voice in defence of human dignity.
Lesya Ukrainka's literary legacy is rich. It includes poetry collections ("On Wings", "Thoughts and dreams", "Echoes"), dramatic poems, prose, critical articles, studies in folklore, and translations from many languages. From childhood to the end of her life she battled tuberculosis. Her illness drove her from clinic to clinic, from country to country. She was in the Crimea, Bulgaria, Vienna, Berlin, Italy, Egypt and Georgia.
Lesya Ukrainka knew many foreign languages and even in her early years read classical literature in original for self education.
Her poetry, based on folk traditions and penetrated by advanced social and aesthetic ideas, made her a poetess of international caliber.