The mankind needs in songs, as Leonid Martynoff wrote at the
beginning of 60s. We dare to affirm: the mankind needs in Prose. It's sick to death of
Literary Kharkov is the special matter. If the famous names would be spoken about,
then we could say that ones only took off here, others made the forced landing, and the
thirds, like Ivan A.Bunin, had been connected with the city by one of that thousands of
mystical threads. But there are only few persons for which Kharkov became a terminus on
the way to the great literature. Why so? Maybe that's why Kharkov wasn't the depth of the
country, it was always an equal partner for capitals but...wasn't of corresponding rank.
City's mentality was formed at the meeting-point of Russian and Ukrainian cultures, but
the echos of Jewish, Polish and Tatar cultures are heared in it also...
Kharkov rightfully is considered as a cradle of Ukrainian literature. "For
the first time something that could be named yet as Ukrainian literature movement, we
supervise at the end of the second decade of XIX century ... : in the capital of Slobod
Ukraine - in Kharkov... In Kharkov one by one the whole number of more or less talented
writers had appeared, who wrote in Ukrainian for Kharkov publications: Petr
Gulak-Artemovsky, the author of some excellent verses..., Grigory Kvitka -
author of the earliest Ukrainian stories, Amvrosy Metlinsky and Nicolay Kostomarov -
Ukrainian poets and ethnographers. To Kharkov also such benefactors belonged as...
Pavlovsky - author of the first Ukrainian grammar(1808), Ukrainian songs
publishers Tsertelev (1819), Sreznevsky (1833) and others." (M.S.Grushevsky. Outline
of Ukrainian people history). Here lived and created phylosopher and poet of XVIII
century Grigory Skovoroda, the founder of Ukrainian dramaturgy Grigory Kvitka-Osnovyanenko, here the first Ukrainian
literary magazine "Kharkov Demokrit" appeared (which
was apropos the first humorous edition).
And such phenomenon as Kharkov diaspora is also worthy to be mentioned -
maybe not in quite traditional meaning. At any parallel you can meet the former
kharkovian, who, as a rool, is a human having the name. If it would be possible to gather
at one point all that interesting persons, whose destiny crossed with Kharkov, we've got
to the company of renowned ones.
About Kharkov literary associations past heydays and days of tragic destruction in
20s - 30s, about the creative work of one of the greatest poets in the second half of ее
century - we mean the member of poetic tribe of 60s Boris Chichibabin - and about
Ukrainian literature arising as phoenix from ashes you could get to know at Kharkov Literature Museum.
The 90s period of XX century - the early years of independent Ukraine - was marked
in Kharkov by many literary undertakings, which, as a rule (and alas!), were not fated to
have a long life. If earlier literary creative works grew sickly under censorship
pressure and some dissidents like Edward Limonov have got the possibility of
self-expression only after living either Kharkov, or even the Soviet Union, then
literature of 90s should be limited by financial troubles. New Ukraine had too many other
urgent problems to solve instead of thinking about large-scale public investments in
culture, education, science, and in particular about the support of literary associations
and editions. And there were a few Maecenases in our society at that time.
But we must give a due the fact that many attempts were made repeatedly to
organize original periodic issues and literary associations. "Chumatsky Shlyakh"
and "Boursatsky Spusk" relate to them as attempts to embody the artistic
concepts of two Kharkov groups - of Ukrainian and Russian literary men. These
magazines were published in 1992. The prose magazine ''Dark Alleys'', which had begun
to publish in 1995, promised to be an interesting issue. From 1992 till 1998 the literary and artistic newspaper
"Zerkal'naya Struya (Unruffled Stream)" was published thanks to support of
the fund having the same name; it had resulted in non-formal association of Kharkov
poets and poetry-lovers. Up to now the tradition of their meetings is going on near
''Zerkal'naya Struya'' fountain which is situated in Sumskaya Street - on every
first Sunday per month. And Kharkov Yury Vizbor club of songs and poetry-lovers is keeping
its face till now - it's the unic phenomenon in cultural space of Kharkov. This club had
been organized at Scientists House about forty years ago and it looks now contanding for
the title of old-timer as like as some British clubs.
Kharkov is the city of famous publishing houses: "Folio",
"Maydan", "Krok", "Zolotye Stranitsy",
"Kaleidoscope", "Megapolis", "Oko", etc. One of great
phenomenon in Kharkov literary life is installation of annual February Book Fairs, which
are timed for interesting meetings with poets, writers, bards from Ukraine and Russia.
There is unsolvable problem to present Kharkov literature in whole size, but here
you can find One-Page Anthology of Kharkov poetry (in Russian,
Ukrainian and English),
information on some literary associations and groups, and can have the possibility to know
about Kharkov Literature Museum activities.