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Alba Iulia
Saturday, August 15, 2020

A selection of poems by poet Daniil Harms for children is published in the publishing house Big and small / Diena

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Harms’ poetry for children carries the same “literary madness and challenge” as his work as a whole: “master of the absurd”, “elements of surrealism”, “futurism”, “happening” – such terms are used because it is difficult to formulate the text of Harms precisely reasons for attractiveness. Games with language and poems’ dynamic, funny stories make his children’s poetry easy to understand and easy to remember. Cooling these works in Latvian, Kārlis Vērdiņš tried to preserve Harms’ inimitable joy and abomination of the game.

The book also gives an idea of ​​the historical context of this poetry, it contains many things that would seem completely unthinkable today: harshness, violence, militarized Soviet patriotism, but reading it shows how it all turns ironically. In his poems, Harms asks us: can a game be fun if someone else has to suffer because of it? Should life be sure to deceive the strongest and subdue the weakest? Should every boy dream of becoming a tanker or a border guard to find and destroy real or imagined enemies?

The artist Reinis Pētersons combines important aspects of his talent in the interpretation of Harm’s poetry: the mastery of black and white drawing, the ability to use historical stylization and the paradoxical sense of humor. The artist’s work is one of the ways in which the reader can come to a sense of the historical context of Harm’s poems, which is related to the 20th-30th centuries. years of Soviet children’s magazine stylistics.

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