Gräns och gryning
Pavel Kamarov


The poet of transformation

More than ten years ago in the city of Moscow my friend and teacher, the famous and esteemed in the world cinematographer Rolan Bykov suggested that I should write a script based on the world known epos «Kalevala».

 I asked him to give me two months to think it over, to re-read the epos and to write a brief synopsis of the future film. I decided, that if the script will be capable to carry away both ten- and sixty-years'-old spectator, and if an equivalent film-image will be found for the philosophical vision of the epos, I’ll agree to work on the script.
I admit that I knew "Kalevala" rather well, but only in Belsky’s translation. And suddenly I happen to hold in my hands a new one, where more than a half of all runes are translated by Marat Tarasov. The text has become clearer, more comprehensible, and more poetical. I  saw the concept of the future film at once: it was impossible to film all the runes. And in the new translation, even the runes arrangement was more logical and dynamic. And all I had to do was to find that rod, which would easily hold the chosen runes, but at the same time the greatness should be saved and the idea of "Kalevala" should be clear.
Original arrangement, poetic sincerity and ethereality of the verse – are the main features of the given translaion.
And now the teachers and the schoolchildren of Karelian schools prefer to study the epos in this translation. It is clearer, more comprehensible, and more poetical.
When the script was ready, Rolan Bykov insisted that I should show its literary variant to Marat Tarasov. 
What will be the opinion of the man, who worked on the epos translation for more than five years, who learned the life of great northern storytellers, such as Ryabinin and Fedosova?
What could Marat Tarasov say about the literary script in the popular "action" genre, based on "Kalevela".
And, what a miracle! Marat said:
- Yes! There is "Kalevela’s" spirit here!
It meant, that my image of "Kalevela" was harmonically entwined into the poetic images of Marat’s "Kalevela".
There are other translations of this epos, but in these translations the material side dominates the spiritual one.

And I could even say more rigidly: in these translations material side kills the very spirit of "Kalevela". The spirit, which is so poetically brought up to the reader in Marat Tarasov’s translation.

Material and spiritual sides are always in conflict. It is like the basic problem of philosophy: what is primary: the idea or the substance?
Poetry stands above the materialism, I would even say: despite it!
To understand Marat, you should accept his statement: 

Poetry is a spiritual phenomenon

Which is the phenomenon of spirit.
Poetry is a feat of spirit. That is self-sacrifice of spirit in the Christian sense.
Spiritual heroism – is one of Marat’s images.
"To do good to people every day " – is his creed in public life.

For today
Марат Тарасов is one of the well known and estimated public figures of Karelia. Thanks to his activity the Commission of Human rights, which has been headed by him for more than seven years, has become notable legal institute of Karelia. Marat talks with each person turned for help to the Commission, and if it is necessary he goes into courts and demands for truth. Various people need help. Here comes the girl, who cannot receive a passport for several years already. She was born in Karelia, but in her infancy she was brought to Byelorussia, where she lived for some years. She graduated from school in Karelia again. But at the moment of majority, Soravala’s authorities refused to issue a passport to her and demand a reference saying, she has no Byelorussian passport. As earlier all the roads went to Rome, so in Karelia all the offended go to Marat. And he begins to struggle with the bureaucratic machine for the passport of this girl. But is this struggle simply for the passport? It’s not! It is a struggle for a human soul, soul of a young lady, who has all her life ahead!
Marat’s authority among the inhabitants of Karelia is huge. He has a large audience: he acts regularly on television, he conducts a cycle of programs till a wireless, answering to the rather difficult questions, frequently requiring an immediate solution. Several times a week turns for help to people and authority through periodic printing

A girl with a face spoiled by a birthmark was born at the young musicians family, who had just graduated from the conservatory. The parents were in despair! How was the girl with a face covered with a birthmark supposed to live?
A ray of hope appeared for the girl’s parents, when they were informed the necessary operation can be made in Finland. For this purpose it was necessary to receive a residence permit in this country, because the operation is expensive and it is made freely only to Finland citizens.
The parents turn to Marat for help.
And a three years marathon on deriving the sanction of the whole family moving to Finland begins.
A month ago extremely thanks to Marat’s diligence all the necessary documents were obtained. The girl’s parents found faith and hope again, and their child, shall we hope - cloudless childhood.

Marat Tarasov is the kind of person that influences others, people change after talking with him: they begin to trust in Good, reestimate their material and spiritual values, frequently they are revealed as creative persons.

He has already been appreciated and respected as a writer for more than forty years! Let's remember the line from the Bible: A tree is known by its fruit. So shall we look at the fruit, that has been brought and are being brought by Marat’s mighty creative soul.

He is the author of more than ten poetic books, issued in different years by the largest publishing houses: «Sovremennik», «Sovetskaya Rossiya» etc. His literary works entered the anthologies “Stanzas of century”, «My ground’s life face» and other similar publications. Mikhail Svetlov, Rozhdestvensky, Starshinov, Kazakova and others gave a high evaluation mark to his creative work.
So Evtushenko wrote:
" It is impossible to imagine Karelia without "Kalevala", without Kizhi, without lakes, woods, boulders, and it is also impossible to imagine it without the poetry of Marat Tarasov’s, who has not only sung this land, but also sacrificed so many years to enlightening service to its culture ".
And those, who has ever been to Karelia, can put their signature under these words without any doubt.

Marat Tarasov studied oral national creativity through communicating with the descendants of great storytellers Pertunen, Ryabinin.
Caring to save the traditions of oral national creative work, he found and immortalized the burial places of great Russian storytellers Irina Fedosova and Ivan Ryabinin in the villages of Kuzaranda and Sennaya Guba.

The runes of the epos in his translation entered the first volume of Library of the world literature (1975.) 
He has acquainted the Russian readers with the poetry of Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish poets, as well as with the creative works of the national Karelian poets, writing in Finnish, Karelian and Vepssy’s languages. 
One of his recent creative works is the translation of the book of poetry by Bengt Pohjanen. From my point of view, this translation is made in a masterful fashion. Marat seems to have joined Bengt’s soul and lived his life. He worked lightly and was inspired. And the translation appeared to be sincere and touching. Though Marat himself says to my praises:
- This is all Bengt. Only Bengt is here.
But you and I know what a significant role the translator usually plays in poetry!

Marat Tarasov cares for the literary change. Many young poets have flied up into the sky of poetry from his kind palm. In former years he supervised over the seminars during the all-Union meetings of young writers, now he does it at the All-Russia youth forum in Lipky. He has brought up many young talented writers - last year two of them, Mamaeva and Novikov, received the Russian literary prizes.
For 12 years now Marat Tarasov has been the chairman of Karelian writers union.

Tarasov initiated and realized many cultural and literary projects. The holiday of poetry in Kondopoga, organized by him in his native town, exists for 40 years already –many issued poets of Russia and foreign countries visited it.
He has put forward the idea and promotes the organization of a new large cultural tourist path " northern gate " - from the boundary transition Lonka through the old rune-singing villages to Solovky. This path can soon become as popular, as Kizhi. One of the villages, Haikola, that will become a museum under the sky, is already being arranged with the help of Finnish part.
This was his initiative to invite the outstanding Russian and foreign writers to read lectures in Petrozavodsk state university, so that the students alongside with formation joined genuine art. Fazil Iskander, Rimma Kozakova, Bengt Pohjanen have already presented their lectures. 

Таrаsov promotes the invitation of the remarkable masters of art from the neighboring countries to Karelia. Thus, the symphony "Karelia" - the composition of the outstanding Finnish composer Fridrikh Brook - is planned to be performed in the coming autumn in Petrozavodsk. 
All this helps solidifying and contact development in the field of culture and art between Russia and the Scandinavian countries.
The project - transfer of large quantities of valuable books of Moscow publishing houses to libraries of Karelia – has been realized for 2 years. Books have already been given to the libraries of Belomorsk, Kondopoga, Muezersky district.

Marat Tarasov supervises the Karelian branch of Russian children's fund, which ensures children of Karelia with humanitarian help, organizes various charitable cultural programs, rest in the Scandinavian countries etc. for them. 
Last winter Marat Tarasov received an express-telegram from the director of the school of Borovoe settlement, that is in the north of Karelia. The telegram said, that the schoolchildren fell down in faints caused by hunger. Many families have about 100 - 150 roubles income per month, i.e. 3 - 5 US dollars. Earlier children had dinners at school, and at that moment the money had not arrived!
Unemployment - children suffer.
Irresponsibility of the government - the beggarly children's allowances - children suffer!
In an hour after receiving the telegram Marat already made a remittance to starving children.
The same day he rung all the rich people of Petrozavodsk, talked over the radio and on TV, and has organized fundraising to help the people in need of the distant settlements.
The situation is a little better in Petrozavodsk. Children's fund, headed by Marat, has opened a charge-free restaurant for needy people. This is extremely important in days of school vacation, when many children remain without unique food – their school dinner.
The needy families know well the way to the children's fund warehouse, where they can always receive the clothes necessary for their children free of charge.

The well-being of the whole world is not worth one teardrop of the child
– this formula by Dostoevsky is another Marat’s life creed.

Marat is never sad, he is always busy, he has always something to do and he is always needed. 
One of the largest pleasures for a man is the feeling that his native country, friends and colleagues need him. Such person has a special vision of the public processes, he is visible at once, and he is always well seen among the people walking along the street, so reach his spiritual world is, even strangers are attracted.
Everyone is transfigured after contacting with him.

 The first runes you get acquainted with, when you open the epos "Kalevala" in Marat’s translation are named" Birth of the bear " and " Birth of kantele ".
The bear is the symbol of cruelty and harmful influence. But not only. In antique times bear-cubs considered to be born shapeless and their mother licking them gave them the necessary form herself. From here comes the symbol of bear as Christianity changing people. Therefore the great saints Sergy Radonezhsky and Seraphim Sarovsky tamed wild bears, that approached their remote wood cells and were fed from hands by these sacred.
"The Birth of kantele» symbolizes transformation of the world by influencing it with the great force of art.

It seems that the characters of the three main heroes of "Kalevala" are brought together in Marat: the wisdom of Vajnemainen, the skill of Ilmarinen, the boldness, the lyrism and the youthful ardour of Lemminkainen.

These are the mutual penetration in heroic images of the nation and the influence of these images on the soul and the character of the poet - devotee of our time.


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