Dmytro Drozdovsky (about Alexander Korotko’s poem

Dmytro Drozdovsky, critic, literary critic, translator, writer. December 2019, Kiev

Alexander Korotko’s poem "Towards the Dawn" (written 11 years ago), is like the shield of Achilles in the ancient poem of Homer, contains a powerful visual depiction of civilization from the Huns to the stained glass windows of the birth and fall of the communist empire. It is a poem-ephrasis in which there is a special connection between words on the basis of the inner rhyme and the principle of dissemination.

"Torn", the choppy rhythm within each line, dynamizes the unfolding of motifs, each of which is symbolically encoded in the names of parts of the poem («The Girl», «The Empire», «The Guide», «The Surprise», «The Equality».

       Alexander Korotko created an epic canvas about the end, though it seems that in this circle of events there is neither beginning nor end. The events are then introspected, transposed into an internal plot, on the contrary, the huge icebergs of historical subjects familiar to the inhabitants of the (post) Soviet world are revealed on the surface of the text. How much deconstruction in the poem, how much self-irony (the story seems to be laughing at itself, deconstructing the former fascination with the impending doom, to which grandideology will lead), dissolving icebergs, under which in the depths - millions of lives, fates, tragedies.      Antique epic canvases, such as those of Hesiod or Homer, are monologic: they are stories and facts that incorporate mythological ideas about mysterious, to say the least, Gog and Magog. Alexander Korotko’s epos is symbolic, and therefore it expresses the author's voice, which lays out unusual connections between words, images, situations, historical periods ... The poem is based on the ensemble, the figure of break and transition, and therefore the transgression is here in the very poetic nature (code) of the work. Here both the high and low registers, and the ode, and the eulogy of time.

     Sharply dynamic and, in its own way, a daring work, evocative and dramatic, which engulfs the reader in his pores, broken rocks on the verge of words and sentences. The word concepts in the names of parts of the poem are characters of mysterious action, in which there is an inward path, the motive of the path – cognition (self-knowledge), and therefore, it is expedient to say that "TOWARDS THE DAWN" is a poem-mystery. Just what is there, on the awakening of Eos: is it the beginning of a new "overland commune" and "blue distance"?

      Man is not allowed to walk through the door of the future until his time is up. There is a strange logic of time in this text: although it is about the past, about what we know, it has a relentless desire to open the door to the future, which is only due to poetic imagination. In Alexander Korotko’s poem "TOWARDS THE DAWN," the imagination is not human in its power – it is demonic, Mephistophelesian, thereis the power of the Atlanteans and gods in it, who in modern times have become tyranny gods, "leaders" of new truths and forgotten truths. The concrete realities of time dissolve in the overall timeless picture of human progress and fall.

   “TOWARDS THE DAWN" is reminiscent of an old book, part of the apocryphal Book, which was forbidden to be read to the masses. For them are other letters. Alexander Korotko created a philosophical anthem, a polygenre (it is expedient to restrict this work not only by the genre of the poem). It's a poem-requiem, a poem-symphony, a poem-mystery that has a carnival at the same time. Such genre invariants are possible because the work is polystylistic and philosophical. In any case, it is an extremely visual poem, the fabric of which consists of bright frames, by which you recognize the era. Tragic, red and brown, blurred and enlightened, with so many overtones and ironies, halftones and bravado, truths and lies.

     Such works signal global changes in worldview, change of epochs, because they themselves are manifestos of the end and the beginning. Natural cataclysms, unnatural changes, the flow of patterns and the carousel of absurdity are all hidden or, conversely, exposed on the surface of the poem.

      There have been so many distortions in the history of the last century that one cannot hope that history can be right, that there is a correct model of human development in the world. From one point can begin many opportunities, the singular moment of time space has the potential to create many beams. Which one will lead the history? - it is impossible to say. But this ray (that is, a poem) A. Korotko - epic and dialogical at the same time (it is, simply put, modern). The poem is epic in the sense that everything already was, that time was primordial and invariable in its smallest manifestation here and now; and dialogical, since between all the words and things in this cosmos A. Korotko’s poem is the connection – at the level of rhythm and internal rhyme, at the level of piling up of facts-sensations-phenomena and their gradual dissolution in the magma of Time.     

Translated by Irina Mozol