photo: Georgi Panamsky

The great poet of our recent past Nikolay Kanchev is called the "white crow" of Bulgarian poetry and the "black sheep". Like and dislike, he has always stood out and attracted attention with his exceptionalism. "Colossal talent and a touch of character. But we all loved him exactly like that! "- his friend Bozhidar Kunchev remembers after his death. Svetlozar Igov says he knows no one else with such a rich library of poetry books, "from the Bible and ancient Eastern poets to TS Elliott and EE Cummings." The poet Nikolay Kanchev is amazing and unique in many ways.
"What is there in the depth of the poet? Water - crying, lava - exploding? - Kanchev asks at the beginning of his creative career. And all his life he never ceases to seek and offer answers - both to us and to himself.


Nikolay Kanchev was born on 25 on November 1936 in the village of Byala Voda, Pleven. She studied Bulgarian philology at Sofia University. Since 1957 he has participated with his poems and translations in literary periodicals. His wife, Fedya Filkova, is also involved in translation and poetry. Kanchev is the author of many poetry books. He was named a great translator when he and Svetlozar Igov co-authored the anthology "Five Contemporary Serbian Poets". Kanchev is an extremely hardworking and productive artist. Until his death in October, 2007 wrote tirelessly.


Nikolay Kanchev is the most talented and translated Bulgarian artist who is banned from publishing adult poems in his native country. And on top of that, the same verses have become known worldwide and have earned him international recognition. The shocking thing about the case is that Kanchev's ban is unspoken - it is a matter of agreement between "those out there", the acclaimed critics, that "this man is unreliable, he is not becoming." For his first two poems, Presence (1965) and How Much Mustard (1968), there are negative reviews - "Presence that does not warm" (1966) and "Unharmed by human sentiment" (1969) ). This means that Kanchev should refuse to write poetry because the specialists have categorically explained to him that he is not suitable for this job. How can a talented person, confident in their own power, act in this situation after those who have the word say to him, "You're not up!"


The story of the genius creator Nikolay Kanchev can be told in a whole series of injustices and meanness on the part of the totalitarian state towards him. But I think our proud poet deserves more. He was so self-assured and "touched", indeed, that it would be unfair to feel sorry for him to see the victim in him. It is as if we attach too much importance to the disability that Pencho Slaveikov has followed in his life's journey.


It is stated that Kanchev's works are blind to communism, in them socialist realities do not exist, and the clichés of socialist realism are subject to linguistic exposure.


“… You are tormented by this failure and seek
in which star is the miracle seed really?
You yourself will commit a terrible sin, if you will,
that there is only flesh because everything is not corpse.
And the flight of thought makes you a white crow. "


In The White Crow, Kanchev possesses a flight of thought that distinguishes him from the mass of creators who are submissive to dogma and can see no further than their noses. He is a loner, embracing loneliness to find in him the essence of being. Nikolay Kanchev's poetry has taken the wisdom of the ages.


"One poem cannot
to write if I'm not leaving
back to collecting tears,
poured right where
my eyes are a hourglass
of eternity.
I, so lonely,
that I will be in the universe for a little while longer. "


And here comes a very interesting, even paradoxical moment in thinking about this artist. In his first two poems, the poet strives for a safe haven of loneliness. And when, in real life, the state machine aims to crush this dissenter - it actually gives it the loneliness from which it will draw creative energy. Although only Nikolay Kanchev knows what he has been through and how difficult it has been. Between 1968 and 1980, he also walks the doorstep, but the publishers flatly refuse to publish it. The on-duty explanation is that his verses "don't work."

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However, this 12-year ban does not break the sage's bad spirit. During this time Kanchev filled his library, which Igov says was so rich in poetry books. Reader, translates, contacts other poets and intellectuals abroad. He was invited to visit France, which he was naturally denied. According to Plamen Doynov, Kanchev has set himself the secret task of seeking recognition abroad - to put to the forefront his detractors and envy in Bulgaria. Once they see that they recognize him abroad, read and translate, ask and are interested in his personality, then ours will have nothing left but to start publishing it. In general, this is exactly what is happening. And then contrary to the established order.


And the order was first to contact the country abroad and to arrange which writer or poet to publish exactly. Kanchev acted differently. As he was already overthrown and refused to accept poetry collections for publication, he contacted him by letters with his friends abroad, with whom he had already bonded closely with his translations. This further exacerbated the situation around him and made the services wonder what to do with this "untidy" and irreconcilable person.


Eventually, the ban fell, and from 1980, they began issuing it, though it was closely monitored by whom it contacted and what it "cut". Despite the hardships he experienced, Kanchev did not become a misanthrope, did not hate people, but retained his humanism. He used to like to say to friends, "If the human is gone, the sea sirens will remain just dumb fish."


They call Kanchev a "hermit of words." He really is a hermit, deliberately deprived of belonging to a literary group and a generation. Today it is difficult to determine his kinship with other Bulgarian poets: it is considered, either to the "April generation" or to the "young" ones. According to the critics, he skillfully blends tradition with modernity. "Kanchev expresses the spiritual experience of the modern man in a world of violence and dehumanized human relations, affirming the moral and aesthetic values ​​that flow from the deepest sources of life. The poet, the "hermit of words," is called to bestow these values ​​on the world, drawing them from his own depths in the moments in which the "miracle of life" flashes. (St. Igov)


I will conclude with the nice philosophical insight of Nikolay Kanchev: “If Freedom without power is possible, it will be Freedom in language. The Paradise Lost will return as an unimaginable image. "

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