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A Poet is Born: Nikoloz Baratashvili

Lado Gudiashvili, Portrait of Nikoloz Baratashvili, 1940, Oil on canvas, 165 x 200. Image courtesy of Ch. Gudiashvili 

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“I found shelter in a temple that stood in the desert,

Lit by an icon lamp that would never fade.

I heard heaven’s seraphim sing a descant

To David’s harp that the angels played.

A pilgrim in this world, perturbed and weary,

I then resolved to stay there and find rest.

The icon lamp’s celestial radiance cheered me,

By fickle fortune and by human spite depressed.

I offered up pure love, for want of incense,

And consecrated it deep in my heart and soul.

I was so full of sweet and blissful innocence,

I thought I saw a heavenly realm made whole.

The vanishing of joys was ever quicker:

The temple disappeared; the desert ceased to speak.

Now in my heart bliss did not even flicker,

My prospects were instead grim, desolate and bleak.

The temple’s every trace had instantaneously vanished:

Had it fallen victim to time’s malicious eye?

No! The temple loathed a world, treacherous, lying, tarnished.

All I had left was the lamp’s extinguished fire.

Love had failed to restore to me a trace of the temple.

Nowhere could I relight the icon lamp forlorn.

Consolation’s door, slammed in my face by devils,

Left me a roaming pilgrim and a homeless orphan.”

 Nikoloz Baratashvili (1843), translated by Donald Rayfield


As the first month of spring slowly comes to an end, on Thursday 27th April we remember Georgian poet Nikoloz Baratashvili  (1817-1845) on the occasion of his 200th birth anniversary with a talk by Donald Rayfield, Emeritus Professor of Russian and Georgian at Queen Mary University of London.

Referred to as the “Georgian Byron,” Nikoloz Baratashvili left behind a handful of unpublished poems when he died of malaria in Ganja, Azerbaijan at the age of 27.  As the next generation of Georgian literati rediscovered Baratashvili’s works he was idolised and posthumously published between 1861 and 1876.

Ambassador of Georgia, Her Excellency Tamar Beruchashvili will also attend the event and deliver an introductory speech. This talk will be followed by a drinks reception sponsored by the Embassy of Georgia, London. Join us as we celebrate the life and poetry of the man who introduced “Europeanism” to Georgian literature.

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General: £10, Concessions: £8, Asia House Arts Members: £5

Asia House Arts Members need to enter their unique membership number when booking online. This can be found on the back of your membership card. Please call 0207 307 5454 if you experience any issues booking tickets.


April 27, 2017
18:45 - 20:00
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