by Corinna Caudill
The following story is part travelogue and part biography. The interconnected vignettes chronicle an October 2011 fieldwork trip to western Ukraine where my colleague Maryann Sivak and I interviewed ethnic Lemkos who were deported from southeastern Poland in the aftermath of World War II. It was on this journey that we met the Lemko poet Kateryna Rusyn, who was eight years old when her family was deported from the eastern Lemko region in the spring of 1946. Pani Kateryna charmed us with her wit and humor, overwhelmed us with her hospitality, and inspired us with her enduring love for her culture and homeland. In the few short days we spent with her, she became much more than a research participant for our project. She became our muse.