In Poltava, Some Gogol and Rigoni Stern


Trooping through the Ukraine during World War II at the head of a downtrodden squad, young Italian sergeant Mario Rigoni Stern saw wheat fields and sunflowers that seemed to stretch to the Caucasus and beyond.  Influenced by Gogol and Gorky,he later wrote vividly about his wartime experiences in the breadbasket region. Then as now, it is the city of Poltava that symbolizes the Ukraine of the written word.