Besik Kharanauli's latest metapoetic books - at the crossroads of tradition and innovation

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Tamar Barbakadze


Besik Kharanauli called the "intersection of prose and poetry" an innovative, alternative genre which has been established by him in Georgian literature in 2020s. In his metapoetic collections ("Eh, Bessarion", "The Great Drinking"), Kharanauli talks about the latest hard times, caused not only by the pandemic, but also by the movement of man’s soul, national pain, and blowing of the dream.

In our view, Besik Kharanauli's lyrical poems reflect the spiritual kinship of the poet's work, on the one hand, with Nikoloz Baratashvili's lyrical judgment and the attempt to answer the main epochal question ("The Fate of Kartli"), and on the other hand, with Galaktion Tabidze's lyrical poems ("Talking about lyrics”, "Akaki Tsereteli"). Besik Kharanauli put forward the eternal, cardinal question about the purpose of the poet and poetry as the main issue of the modern Georgian lyrical poem, lyrical cycles.

Along with the lyrical poem, Besik Kharanauli creates the basis for alternative poetics, i.e., a "poem in prose". The poem in prose is known to be based not on a narrative but on a subjective-evaluative aspect. Northrop Frye notes that the form of a poem affects the semantic structure, absorbs the meaning. Andrei Bely seeks rhythm in both verse and prose and thus destroys their genre nature.

Denying the genre peculiarities of prose and poetry, their specificity, B. Kharanauli creates new metatexts: semantics and rhythm are united by the principle of free, unlimited expression of thought. The author is completely free in self-expression. In these metatexts, the traditional restrictions of prose or poetry, especially verse, are removed. In a lyrical cycle of "Songs during the Pandemic", the informativeness of the narrative, the documentary, the laconicism are determined by aphorisms. All poetic phrases are divided into metro-rhythmic periods (5/4/5, 5/5/4/3, etc.). In all the texts, there is a minimal rhythmic impulsivity.

The poetic tradition of Besik Kharanauli’s innovative metatexts is based on 19-th century original or translated Georgian poetry and Galaktion's lyric poem "A Conversation about Lyrics".

Besik Kharanauli's "Pandemic Songs" is a new form of defeating by poetry and assimilation of "non-fictional space", the poetry of the future. The poet recognizes the need to unite story and emotion, prose and lyricism as a means of overcoming the global, pandemic spiritual crisis and anxiety.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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