“I dream of the sea and the surfing and big seagulls”. 

Poetry evening in memory of Maksym Kryvtsov

On World Poetry Day, March 21, at the Design Museum Dedel in The Hague, we organised a unique poetry evening in memory of Maksym Kryvtsov, a warrior of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and a poet who died at the age of 33 at the beginning of 2024 in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Maksym Kryvtsov on the frontline and in The Hague

Maksym Kryvtsov is known as a warrior with the call sign “Dali”, a participant in the Revolution of Dignity, a military serviceman, a poet, author of the collection “Poems from the Embrasure”, but until now he was less known as an extremely multifaceted person: a brother, a friend, a talented mentor for children, a teacher, a professional photographer, an artist, a content manager, a traveller…

A completely unknown fact about Maksym was that he really liked the Netherlands, and especially The Hague with the North Sea and the dunes! “I dream of the sea and the surfing and big seagulls” – these lines mark the introductory text of the book “Poems from the Embrasure”.

That is why at our evening we talked about Maksym Kryvtsov not only as a poet and a warrior, but first of all as a person. The special guest was Maksymʼs sister Anastasia, who talked about her brotherʼs life and introduced the audience to his personality.

Maksym Kryvtsov’s sister Anastasia Khudaverdyan

During the evening, we read Maksym’s poems, but also watched many videos where Maksym himself read his poetry to us. We cried and laughed, read poetry and talked a lot. We listened to Maksym’s favourite songs, drank cola and ate Lays chips with cheese – we spent this evening in memory of Maksym as he himself wanted to be remembered in case of his death. It can be said that even those who did not know Maksym before this evening got to know him through his poetry.

Without exaggeration, it was an extremely soulful and necessary evening. After all, we have to realise that now it is especially important to discover the work of our artists and support them during their lifetime – read their poems, listen to their music, know their paintings. As of the summer of 2023, during the full-scale invasion of Russia, at least 76 Ukrainian cultural figures were killed – some in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, some as a result of Russian missile attacks, and some – tortured and killed in Russian-occupied territories.

On this evening, unfortunately, posthumously, we fulfilled the dreams of Maksym Kryvtsov, who would like the presentation of his new poetry collection to take place in The Hague. The only consolation was the thought that as long as the poet is read and listened to, he continues to live in our memory forever.

Comment left by Maksym’s sister Anastasia after the evening: “VATAHA, it was like Maksym would have like it”.

By Daria Lysenko