My favorite Maugham — from him I learned the skill to weave the plot in the prose — there is an evil, mischievous and unfair to the novel “Cakes and beer, or a skeleton in the closet”, which mocked the hero, the reader easily learned — albeit not one to one, the British classics by Thomas hardy. For me, this antisite served as an example when I was writing your fearless cherished-forbidden romance “Post mortem” on Brodsky: writing about literary VIPs without looking back, and surprise with love and ruthlessness.
Now, however, I think the novel is Maugham not with Brodsky in connection with his St. Petersburg and the antithesis of Alexander Kouchner, who is today celebrating his 80th birthday, my congratulations and best wishes to the celebrant through the ocean.
A breath of freedom
Now, Maugham in his parodic novel slips one paradoxical idea what they have in the UK, the writer enough to live up to the deep gray hairs to be automatically added to the classics: 70 Great, 75 is a Genius in the 80 Luminary. Now whether a classic for this age requirement Sasha Kushner, mine once, for probably a dozen years closest friend, and he had no one closer than Lena and Klepikova, then it was not, if he signed for us his next book: “Dear friends Volodya and Lena, without which can not imagine my life. With love And Kouchner”, peremeshalas all other autographical from Evtushenko, and Okudzhava to Iskander, Dovlatov and Brodsky? But as said the latter, “the tighter they are the unity, the pandemonium divide. So, actually, AK and happened when we povydergivali each other from their lives.
However, this was preceded by a literary — and not only literary confrontation crazy city, and unrecognized genius Brodsky and favored by the Soviet authorities poet Kouchner. Ideological and career was exacerbated by the contrast of their basic similarity: both Jews, intellectuals, poets, talents, and what a contrast in the destiny! Which deftly used power — let’s give them credit. Livery Jew Kouchner as the official alternative to the pariah, pariah, pariah Brodsky. Being a witness and participant of this conflict, I first told him about the urbi et orbi in his feverish confession of St. Petersburg’s “Three Jews. The novel with epigraphs,” and now, with my light hand, the antithesis of the “Brodsky — Kushner” — the place and its iconic figures from proper names became a household word — the archetypes of literary independence and political servility. No one of his thoughts I do not repudiate, but rather start from the its written at the limit of breath — a breath of freedom! — books, I want to make forty years later, some significant adjustments, taking advantage of the anniversary Kouchner as the reason. Despite the fact that “Three Jews” is not obsolete, if they had survived the embossing on both sides of the ocean, causing each time anew the scandal — not only literary.
Not over if I’m moral and artistic standards for the AK, putting it on par with the genius? It is not distorted if the fate is undoubtedly a gifted poet, having brought him to the Hamburg account? Even Brodsky, reading “Three Jews” in the manuscript, comparing with the book of Hope Mandelstam (flattering, but the genre is wrong: her memories, and I have a memoir novel) and giving permission to publish dedicated to us with Lena poem, made one remark that he and Kouchner — different weight categories. Well, in the sense that “for me not blowing” — another of his cocky, but justified the statement: Brodsky knew his worth.
photo: Archive MK
However, in overtaking their colleagues in the verse shop — not only St. — Petersburg and Brodsky went somewhere in the mid-60s, after returning to the City from exile, where he amassed in the steep solitude and deadly resentment of powerful sexual energy that is sublimated in poetry. Truly, as once said Sumarokov, “all the bad cases on me armed” — and the court, and the nuthouse, and link and total inaccessible Gutenbergova of the machine, and the betrayal of the woman Marina Basmanova with a close friend of the poet Dmitry Bobyshev of their Quartet “Akhmatova’s orphans” — the misery rained down on Brodsky from the horn of plenty. He had every reason for obscene gesture to the “Fatherland of white heads”:
Cross with the left, which absorbed the claws
right paw, bending at the elbow;
the gesture will get similar to
the hammer the sickle, and, as the devil Solokha,
bravely show his age
took the image of a bad dream.
Tragic tenor of the epoch
I leave open the question of what hamlet is suffering from age or from yourself? Even if we imagine that Brodsky was not only tuned to the tragedy, but was drawn to misery like a magnet the iron filings, being in nature and the nature of his talent tragedian, — still all his troubles, eventually, and prematurely brought him to the grave, was the most that neither is true. However, it is true that, if none of this besprosvet and hopelessness in his life, it would not be in our literature of the great tragic poet on a par with the ancient Greek tragedians, especially Sophocles. Or in the words of Anna Akhmatova — “tragic tenor of the epoch”, though he was not a tenor, and his poems he sang the recitative in the manner of a Rabbi or shaman. However, the tragedies he was not to occupy.
The paradox here is that in the literature the positive should be credited life the negative. Its the same love lyrics take: don’t be the same ménage à trois, which Brodsky was perceived tragically, referred to in a conversation with me in Italian saying “there is no greater misfortune in a man’s life…”, cut his veins, chased his rival with an ax in the Arkhangelsk village Nurinskoe, where he was exiled, it would not be his great books about love “New stanzas to Augusta. Dedicated To M. B.”. That’s about it, though not of it, said Prince Pyotr Vyazemsky: “God Save him to be happy: happiness burst beautiful string of his lyre”.
The total opposite of him not only in the literary destiny, but in life — “Schastlivchik” Alexander Kushner. Pair contrast: lucky and the only significant innovation. That’s really who the happy Soviet childhood, but his whole sverhsekretnoj, without a hitch, the Soviet literary career. Especially in contrast with the bad luck and screw-UPS. Sin Kouchner to blame, although someone is irritated: Brodsky first. Peter — as the hungry fed, but even in America, when they in fact obvious to all become the poets of different weight categories, Brodsky could not resist and sent Kouchner, across the ocean in disgust at the message, one of the best passages in his “skinny” near-death years:
…Now in your eyes the barn cat
stored grain from spoilage and damage
read sadness, dozing then
when I was being chased by the axe of Pharaoh.
Why would it suddenly? Silver temple?
Set on edge in the mouth of Eastern sweets?
Otherworldly sound? But the rustling sand,
the desert talisman, my watch sand.
Grind it tough, grain — heavy,
and his bones are whiter than just reworked.
But it is better to chew it than the lips from the heat
lick settled in the shadow of the pyramid.
In fact, this verse was a summary of my “Three Jews”: what the writer took 300 pages, so just a few stanzas. Now, however, I want to stand up for Kouchner, not only Joseph Brodsky, but also from Vladimir Solovyov: from himself.
Insufficiency of happiness for poetry
Well, the person was born in a happy shirt or, as they say here, with a silver spoon in his mouth — not that his guilt! Let no hamlet — what? Moreover, to a stranger gamleby passions of AK treated with suspicion, ironically, with a sneer: “What tragedies take us to That level with the hamlet up? To get what insult?..”
Further — more, “Avoid the tragic notes in order to avoid the lies. Even if it is a reaction to the poetic profanity of the tragedy, which is worse: to profane a tragedy or ignore her? To pretend not to notice? “The tragic attitude so badly, that it is arrogant” — with whom you have a dispute here, Sasha? The kings Oedipus and Lear? Brothers Karamazovi? Of world and Soviet history? Mandelstam and Brodsky?
And what could be visokomernoe optimism?
That’s why I don’t take the most famous, kitsch — due to the fact that developed by Sergey Nikitin in the song — verse Kouchner, “the Times did not choose, they live and die.” Not only because of the bombastic and banal. In fact, this apology any time, and Kushner was a poet for all times, on any. Add more time in order to avoid misunderstandings: a talented poet.
The trouble, however, is that not only are all happy families resemble each other, but happy people are not much different from each other. When the writer represents his credo as “life is good” — so failed his writing fate. And even more obvious lack of happiness for poetry. This, apparently, felt, and Kushner, hungry, suffering, boosting the drama of his poetry, so if you don’t get up emotionally on a par with poets-contemporaries, then at least try to catch up with them. Not one of Brodsky, but Brodsky, with his Grand sense of false poetry, instantly broke antikuchmovskie, the bull’s eye, a diatribe that cannot be attributed to their human controversy. This is from the ideological, philosophical and eternal.
Of course, you can lenient to treat this opposition, taking it on the brakes and shifting into a lyrical plan, as does, for example, Dovlatov — we learn from him of the sensitivity and the tolerance. Released from his notebook:
“The difference between Kushner and Brodsky there is a difference between sadness and longing, fear and terror. Sadness and fear — a reaction to the time. Melancholy and horror — a reaction to the eternity. Sadness and fear facing down. Anguish and dread, to the sky.”
Not exactly, but that I certainly felt, is the epistemological difference between them: Brodsky’s poetry is a conversation with the Celestial, let alone it has not been churching formally, whereas poetry Kouchner is completely earthy, grounded, atheistic conversation, without any religious feeling, not sleeping, and than it too, condemn the sin. That is why, however, Kushner can gather experiences on the drama, but a tragedy pulls, as not straining.
All this does not detract from nor his versification gift, nor his contribution to Soviet poetry or his place in Russian literature. He slightly bend over their writing destiny, yielding to outside pressure and letting his thin, toning, watercolor lyrics alien political, epic and didactic motives. I wish him in his birthday to stay true to yourself — to be yourself.
With regards to me personally, I can not imagine his life without his best poems. To read them to me as they are firmly entrenched in my memory.