The war in Ukraine continued its deadly march through the country’s landscape and communities this past week. The stories we published about it ranged from the danger of refugee women and children being victimized by sexual violence and trafficked to the risks and problems of trying to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for war crimes.

In the middle of these stories about war was a surprising topic: poetry. Rachel Hadas makes beautiful poems; she also writes incisively about pain, suffering and war, as befits the classics scholar she is. Hadas, on the faculty at Rutgers University-Newark, has tackled everything for us from COVID-19 to what Greek mythology would say about Donald Trump. This time, I wrote to her and asked if she would be able to reflect on the war in Ukraine; her story, “‘Laugh right in its face’ – a poet reflects on her craft’s defiant role in the middle of a war,” is her response.

Citing the work of Ukrainian poet Yuri Izdryk and Ukrainian American poet Ilya Kaminsky, Hadas shows how poetry can be a beautiful resistance, a “heroic defiance” against the stealthy spread of darkness in the world.

When evil surfaces and is no longer invisible, it will prove to be, in Izdryk’s words, “pathetic, a thing of no worth / and we two will laugh, we’ll laugh right in its face.”

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Poetry matters: City workers in Kiev, Ukraine, protect a monument to Italian poet Dante Alighieri from shelling by the Russians. Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

‘Laugh right in its face’ – a poet reflects on her craft’s defiant role in the middle of a war

Rachel Hadas, Rutgers University - Newark

In the middle of a brutal war, poetry asserts its value, challenging the darkness and inhumanity.

Hackers can disrupt local government services, like this library in Willmar, Texas. The town suffered a cyberattack in August 2019. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Local governments are attractive targets for hackers and are ill-prepared

Richard Forno, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

With Russia poised to launch cyberattacks on US targets, many local governments find themselves without the staff or resources to even recognize when they’re under attack.

A Ukrainian woman who fled the war is pictured with her son after they crossed into Moldova on March 18, 2022. Andrea Mancini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ukrainian female refugees are fleeing a war, but in some cases more violence awaits them where they find shelter

Chen Reis, University of Denver

While most people offering support to Ukrainians are well-intentioned, it’s not always the case. There are a reports of women and girls fleeing Ukraine being raped in their new countries.

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