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».
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
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.
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
Spiritual heroism – is one of Marat’s images.
"To do good to people every day " – is his creed in public
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
Маrat 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.
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.
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
"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.
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.