RUSSIAN GULLIVER → NEW PROJECTS OF RUSSIAN GULLLIVER: Bobrowski. The project of Sergei Moreino

If we take a closer look at the post-Versailles Treaty world over two decades, it becomes very clear that everything happening back then was nothing but ISIS. However, it is how we see it, from a distance and kind of from above. Most probably, there and then people did have fears or premonitions, but it didnt get to a total horror up to a certain time.


Estern Prussian writer Johannes Bobrowski is one of those people who can bring tranquility into any situation. Even the word “rage” sounds quite calm in his poems. Such people were not rare back in those years, even we consider that particular region. However, Bobrowski is unique because he was a poet, not a pastor (like Hans Joachim Iwand), not a doctor (like Hans von Lehndorff), not a public activist (like Marion von Dönhoff) not a conspirator (like Dietrich Bonhoeffer), but just a poet – and a soldier.

The idea of Sarmatian plane, “the land of shadow and rivers”, the land of memories, the symbol land can be traced all through his work. Oceanus Sarmaticus – Sarmatian ocean, that’s how the Baltic sea washing over our polish-lithuanian-jewish-russian-belorussian-baltic “neck of the woods” was named on Ptolemy maps, the area where the Memel-Nemunas and Daugava-Dvina-Düna rivers run. This is the land of the Letts, Livonians, Latgalians.

Bobrowski was born on the territory of East Prussia, in Tilsit (the town on Sovetsk, Kaliningrad region), where, according to him, “all real Germans have polish names, while real Polish have German names”. In the Königsberg Cathedral Bobrowski learned to play organ, at the Berlin University he was studying art. In his life chronicle we read: “1941, July-August. Through Kandava, Ludza, Porkhov, Dno and Shimsk to the north-russian Lake Ilmen…” In the Sarmatian landscape paradigm (natural, historic, cultural), East Prussia is a metaphor of disaster raised to a power numerous times – Teutonic Knights are destroying the Prussians, the Slavs and Balts are destroying Jews, Livonians are assimilated by the Cours (Kurši). Borowski is listening to the echo over the vast Sarmatian plane, he is looking for responses, speaking for the Dead. His lines are like the flashes of strobe lights, the light of atonement breaks through the veil of forgetfulness.

It is quite interesting to compare two poets, Bobrowski and Celan, ice and fire, plaintiff and respondent. But who had seen and had to bear more evil? Sometimes you can feel that your personal lie is the projection of some other lie, which somewhere over there – higher? deeper? – could be not a lie at all. But where? In his quest for truth, Bobrowski is quieter, more subdued than Celan. Which one of them is more minimalistic? Grief and lament of the plaintiff is more effective than the attempt to clear yourself. Celan’s craziness is his defense from the shock of a touch. Bobrowski is deprived of defense, he is forced to stay normal, and as of anyone on trial, his position is not the winning one, at least at the beginning until the last word is said.

02.06.2016

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