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Georgian poet king - Galaktion Tabidze’s 126th anniversary
17 November, 2017
November 17 marks the birthday of the King of Georgian poets - Galaktion Tabidze. Today, Georgia celebrates his 126th birthday. The writer used to call himself the king of poetry and that is why he gained this title in public and literature experts.

Galaktion Tabidze, simply referred to as Galaktioni, was born in the village Chqvishi near Vani, western Georgia.


His father, local teacher Vasil Tabidze, died two months before Galaktion was born. From 1900 to 1910, he studied at the seminaries of Kutaisi and Tbilisi, and later worked as a teacher. Although his very first book, influenced by Symbolism, garnered acclaim in 1914, he took longer than the other Georgian symbolists from the Blue Horns (a group of Georgian Symbolist poets and prose-writers which dominated the Georgian literature in the 1920s) to gain recognition.


Galaktionis’ wrtings are basically allegorical, since he used many symbolic elements, so his rhymes can be interpreted in different ways. Most of his writings were impregnated with themes of isolation, lovelessness, and nightmarish presentiments, as seen in his masterpieces "Without Love" (1913), "I and the Night" (1913), "Azure Horses" (1915), and "The Wind Blows" (1924).
Due to his preference for solitude, he gained a moniker of "Chevalier of the Order of Loneliness" from his cousin Titsian Tabidze.


Galaktioni’s private life was quite tragic and full of problems.


In 1912, Galaktioni met his future wife in Kutaisi – Olga (Olia) Okujava. Somehow, there was another amazingly beautiful woman in his life, Mary Shervashidze, who, as reported, was one of the main inspirations for the poet.


During the Stalinist repressions of 1937, Tabidze's wife Olga Okujava was arrested and exiled to Siberia where she died in 1944. Galaktion’s cousin and fellow poet, Titsian Tabidze, like many of the poet’s associates, was also arrested and eventually executed. Tabidze himself was interrogated and heavily beaten by Lavrentiy Beria.


Tabidze became a leading Georgian poet of the twentieth century. His next poetic collection Crâne aux fleurs artistiques (Skull with artistic flowers) made him the leader of Georgian poetry for several decades to come. His writings profoundly influenced all subsequent generations of Georgian poets.


Despite him being quite famous and popular, Galaktioni came under heavy pressure from the Soviet authorities. Those years plunged him into depression and alcoholism.


He was placed in a psychiatric hospital in Tbilisi, where he committed suicide through jumping to his death from the hospital window in 1959.

His writings have endured many years and represent an integral part of Georgian literature. Galaktioni went into the history of Georgia as the genius author whose rhymes sound most beautifully. His famous works are still taught at Georgian schools.  

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