Kirillov's life of beauty

  • 2009-08-20
  • Interview by Ella Karapetyan

Georgy Kirillov has devoted his entire life to poetry, having published ten volumes in Russian, one 'The Silvery Smell of Coffee,' was translated into English by Richard McKane. Kirillov has received several awards in Estonia including the Kultuur Kapital award for 'Best Book of the Year' which he received in 2005.

Kirillov  follows a great Russian poetry tradition, illuminating everyday things and happenings with inspired insight, transforming suffering and sorrow into a dimension of hope and faith . His poems both entertain the mind and uplift the spirit. Nikolai Tolstoy'sMiloslavsky commented on Kirillovs book, saying "I have greatly enjoyed Georgy Kirillov's poems. They are carefully crafted, touching and allusive, and deserve to be widely read by the discriminating. Georgy Kirillov made his first appearance in London, on July 17, in the Pushkin house, a home of Russian culture, where he presented his poetry both in English and Russian.

The silvery smell of coffee,
grey eyes of spring,
unintentionally, in passing,
the words 'we' was let fall.
Blindness raised the walls
but there's a day and
an hour for everything.
At the sunset hour we are able
to find our road to Damascus.
                   Georgy Kirillov

Who, or what, gave you inspiration to start writing?
I am a religious person and I am a member of the Orthodox Church, so first of all my belief towards God inspired me to start writing. The second thing that inspired me is the statement that 'The beauty will save the world.' I totally agree with this statement as I think that it is important to appreciate the beauty and to try to feel, notice and see
the beauty, as there is beauty in everything that surrounds us. If one has some imagination or illusion, it would be possible to see that beauty. Actually, the poems are usually born when some events or incidents take place.

Tell us about you and your family, as we know that you are from a very aristocratic Russian family.
I was born in a family where all the members belonged to the Orthodox Church. My grandparents left Petrograd in connection with the well-known historic events. My grandfather, from my father's side, in February 1917, came to Estonia as he realized that there was no sense to stay there any more. And my mum's father left Petersburg only in July, 1919, as he didn't want to leave his motherland till the last minute, but he was obliged to do that because of the existing circumstances at that time. It was already impossible to stay in Petersburg, when so many people were executed on the streets every day, so my grandmother suggested to leave for Estonia.

What would you like to say to the reader, can you give a piece of good advice?
I would recommend to all to read books, as many books as possible and to devote most of your free time to reading, as books make us more intelligent, smart and change our inner world, and finally, books help for self-realization. In fact, there are some special courses which are quite popular in Europe, where people from different spheres (managers, businessmen and so on) take part in the courses which usually last 2 or 3 weeks to gain knowledge in literature, history and even economics or psychology. These kinds of courses help people to get in touch with others more easily, to reach some achievements in their career, or just helps in communication between people from different  fields.

How many books have you already published, and which of your books is your favorite?
I don't have any favorite book; I have published ten books and the last one is 'The Silvery Smell of Coffee,' but I hope that it is not the last one as I will write as long as I am alive. I think that the meaning is quite clear, it says that even if we are far from our
national roots, sooner or later we come back to our backgrounds.

Do you hold any position in the Church, or are you just a common member?
I have served in the Orthodox Church, but now I am just a common member of the church. I attend St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral every day. I gave up my position in church, as a Subdeacon, because of serious health problems, and it is a real miracle for me to be able to write. My father also served in the church, and my children also attend church.

What is your favorite genre?
Well, I can say that my favorite genre is lyrics, poetry.

What is your favorite theme or element in writing?
My favorite theme is just the ordinary life, life in the Church.

What useful tips or advice can you give to young writers?
I would advise them to read, to read with attention as well as researching poetry techniques.

Who are your target readers?
My readers are usually people of all generations.

Who can you point out from the well-known Estonian or Russian poets that you call your friends?
I have had many, but in the past.

Tell us please, about the Foundation that you established.
I have set up a foundation to help the financing of poets. The foundation is named after me, 'Georgy Kirillov Foundation.'

In what languages are your books translated? And why have you chosen theRussian language to write your poems?
I think that the person must write in the language which he knows the best; actually, Russian is my mother tongue and I prefer Russian for writing, though my books are also translated into Estonian and English as well. I have very good friends and relationships with Estonian writers who are in the association of writers. I personally also do translations into the Estonian language as well.