The first Australian Festival of Traditional and Experimental Russian Literature (18-26 November 2006, Sydney).

Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

Australia

Konstantin Kedrov is a poet of the Universe.

Konstantin Kedrov has many faces: he is Russian avant-garde poet and philosopher, he is philologist and literary critic, he is a scientist and lecturer.

He finished KazanUniversity(the same where a hundred years ago Lenin studied) and made his post-graduate research in Moscow Literary Institute.

Since 1974 he was a lecturer of Literary Institute, but in 1986 he was fired for the propagation of religion, universal life and the afterlife. What a strange time was this late Soviet era! Mikhail Gorbachev, not yet a President of USSR, but Generaal Secretaire of Communist Party, have had meetings with leaders of Orthodox Church and they were talking about spirituality, and at the same time a poet was fired because one of his students came to believe in God and Universal spiritual meaning after his lectures.

Kedrov was not a dissident, at least not a political dissident, he rather was otherwise-minded in the strict sense of the word he things by universal categories that connect human-being to Universe, inner to outer, art with Creator intention.

But KGB has no an intention to look into such niceties they instituted a legal proceedings on Kedrov. Fortunately the investigation has not shown any criminality that is anti-Soviet propaganda in Kedrov lectures, and poet was saved. Later he managed to find his own files in KGB archives the resolution of discontinuance of his process as an evidence of that era:

(illustration and translation of the files):

I, officer of the criminal investigation department of KGB USSR(military rank and family name are wiped out) have examine a case of forest-guard ( KGB agents named Kedrov in this way) concerning anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation with revisionism statements of Kedrov Konstantin Alexandrovich. I have not find in his files historical or operative actuality. I resolve to annihilate the files on forest-guard N 355867.

Soon Kedrov brilliantly defended a dissertation on philosophy about cosmos in literature, on interrelations of humans and Universe. His research concerned universal system of signs that could be read and seen in all levels, from atoms to stars. He has called this system a metacode. In the dissertation Kedrov described the projection of the universe to human minds through mythology and literature. He has found interaction and correlations between different images and symbols in poetry and mythology. His discoveries look very simple, even obvious. But it is a necessary feature of Universal metacode.

To Kedrov there are Universal laws, the Earth and planets and stars follow these laws, and human minds have reflections of the same laws.

And there are other laws laws of freedom and arts.

So Kedrov establishes a poetical group DOOS (Voluntaire Society of Protection of Dragonflies).  Each ex-Soviet person can find in this phrase a part of Soviet set expression during those years everybody had to be a member of several so called Voluntaire Society of Protection for example, Voluntaire Society of Protection of Nature, Monuments, or Children. In reality all the responsibilities of members of these society consisted in monthly payments to the federal centre. The membership in these societies was obligatory.

As for Dragonfly, is has flown from Krilovs fable A Dragonfly and an Ant about hard-working ant and flittering dragonfly. But dragonfly is beautiful and its dance is a form of art, supposed Kedrov, so it should be protected as an artist.

So DOOS works (and not just for dragonflies) and makes performances in Russia, Germany and French. Poetical anthologies of their works are published in these countries.

In 1999 Kedrov has been elected a president of Russian Poetry Society created under the patronage of UNESCO. Russian Poetry Society lead by Kedrov participates in international book fairs, in scientific conferences, in World Poetry Days. Since 1995 he has been publishing a journal of Poetry. In this journal works of experimental literature, visual poetry, graphic poetry, palindromes and anagram poetry have being published.

Kedrov poetry conception does not start out of nowhere. For Kedrov writers of the past are of great importance. He looked at their works and at their discoveries over and over again. The figures of the most importance for Kedrov are Shakespeare and Leo Tolstoy. He re-thinks and re-writes Hamlet or Ivan Illich or Anna Karenina. Re-write for Kedrov means not make a re-make, but to return to the images and to the problems of these works, to see them by the eye-seeing of the man of XXI century. As a result the death becomes the beginning of something new, and hard and heavy cast iron steam-engine that causes a catastrophe, turns away reflecting in a mirror and it itself became mirror-like.

Poet repeats and repeats that all Universe is the reflection of a human being and that human being is a reflection of the Universe.

We will read here a poem Computer of Love written by Kedrov in 1984. In 2003 for this poem he was awarded the GRAMMY Russian Prize in literature as a poet of the year. Associative illustrations to the poem are made by poet himself.

The other poems The Ship of Prayer and Mirror will be illustrated by other visual works of Konstantin Kedrov.

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