Vera Rich Biography

Vera Rich (24 April 1936 – 20 December 2009) was a British poet, journalist, historian, and translator from Belarusian and Ukrainian.

Born in London, she studied at St Hilda's College of University of Oxford and Bedford College, London. In 1959, her poetry attracted the attention of the editors of John O'London's Weekly and the following year her first collection of verse, Outlines, was privately produced and received favourable reviews, selling out within six months.

Her translations of the works of Taras Shevchenko, commissioned for the century of his death (1961) received excellent reviews, both in the West and in the Soviet Ukraine. For this work, Vera Rich was awarded an Honorary Diploma in Shevchenko Studies by the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences.

Later, influenced by Fr. Ceslaus Sipovich, she started also translating Belarusian poetry. Her first translation from Belarusian was the poem Na čužynie by Janka Kupala. Her Like Water, Like Fire published in 1971 became the world's first anthology of translations of Belarusian poetry into a western European language. Later she published The Images Swarm Free, a collection of translations of verses by prominent Belarusian authors, Aleś Harun, Maksim Bahdanovič, and Źmitrok Biadula.

Vera Rich was the founder of Manifold, "the magazine of new poetry". It was started in 1962 and appeared regularly under Vera's editorship until May 1969, when it was suspended owing to Vera's taking a job as Soviet and East European Correspondent for the scientific weekly Nature. At the time of its suspension Manifold had close on 900 subscribers, almost half of them in the USA. This initially temporary job at Nature lasted for more than 20 years. It was only in 1998 that it proved possible to relaunch Manifold. All together, 49 issues were published under Vera's editorship. It published original high-quality poetry in traditional and innovative styles, in various variants of English, and - from time to time - in major European languages, as well as translations of poetry from less-known languages.