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17 November, 2011

Galaktion Tabidze is 120

What is happening today to the most precious and most elevated Georgian poet’s image, life and work is beyond our ordinary national pride. It is well over his translator’s literary ambition and poetic aspiration to fight through the labyrinth of most intrinsic symbolisms and rhymed-up philosophy of the genius. This is nothing less than a miraculously reincarnated and reborn Galaktion Tabidze – the gigantic poetical presence in the world literature. Finally, his poesy is out there for the enjoyment and meditation of Galaktion’s readers in the English language. This is a dream having come true for every living Georgian, who has always wished to share the most valued intellectual and spiritual national treasure with the rest of the world but has not had an opportunity to do so because of the limited usage of the Georgian language on our planet. And it is Innes Merabishvili, the prominently distinguished Georgian linguis and lady of letters, master of theory of translation and its brilliant practitioner who has done the job, so much needed by this nation. She has literally assumed patronage over Galaktion Tabidze’s poetic legacy to let the world know that there is the culture which genuinely deserves the world’s attention. Having grown and matured on Lord Byron’s poetic inheritance, Innes is happily and creatively lodged between the world’s two imminent giants of romanticism, feeling more comfortable in the lap of their poetry then anywhere else in life. What a great spiritual habitat for a poetically-minded human being!

The Invitation which I received the other day would describe in the most eloquent way the cherished event I am trying to describe herewith:

“You are most cordially invited to attend a British-Georgian event to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the great Georgian poet Galaktion Tabidze (1891-1959) on the 23rd of November, at 6.30 pm. in Canning House, 2, Belgrave Square, London. It is not a mere coincidence that the Byron Society of Georgia celebrates this date in London though initiative comes from British academics and diplomats. Byron has always been dearly loved in Georgia but Galaktion Tabidze’s poetry is especially distinguished for his attitude towards the English poet. This inspired the Georgian poet’s friends to give him the name of the Georgian Byron. A new book comprising 50 poems by Galaktion in the translation of Professor Innes Merabishvili is published in Nottingham, Great Britain”

Says Professor Richard A. Cardwell of the University of Nottingham in connection with the upcoming event:

‘I have read with great interest the Introduction and the translations of the poetry of Galaktion offered by Professor Innes Merabishvili. The renderings of the poems from Georgian into Englishare are accomplished and sensitive. She has captured the tone and rhythms of Galaktion and her translations of the difficult metaphors of the originals come over into English remarkably faithfully. This is a token of Professor Merabishvili’s skill as a translator in that one does not sense the presence of a foreign source in these translations. Since Georgian poets – Eristavi, the Chav’chav’adzes, Galaktion, etc. – are hardly known at all in the English-speaking world Professor Merabishvili has rendered a great service to Georgian letters by making one of the nation’s greatest modern poets available to English readers. That alone, in my view, justifies the publication of this volume, always supported by her skill as a translator mentioned above’.

Following is one of the better known poems by Galaktion Tabidze both in the Georgian original and the English translation performed by Innes Merabishvili. This is one of those 50 pearls presented in the talked-much-about book of the day, ready to be presented to the international public in London in a few days to come.

 

And Gain Your Dearest Aim

You show your face and break the dark,

You, Georgia’s cloudy sky,

Rise blazing bright I wish the sun

To make you full of light!

You are awake, you act, you move!

The land of sorrowed fame,

I wish you burst your fetters soon!

And gain your dearest aim!

 

Today, the 17th of November we are celebrating one of the luckiest days on the Georgian national calendar – birthday of the great Galaktion Tabidze. And on the 23rd of this month, London will see the celebration of his amazing poesy, all thanks to the darling of the Georgian Anglists Innes Merabishvili.