Embroidery with cornflowers passed from poetess to poet

120th anniversary celebrations for Maxim Bogdanovich — a Belarusian literary classic — planned for December

Preparations for the anniversary of the writer’s birth are already in full swing, with the Maxim Bogdanovich Literary Museum in Minsk planning a wonderful exhibition for the December event. It recently received an e-mail from a resident of the Ukrainian town of Rovno, offering an edition of Vyanok (Wreath) — the only collection of poems written by Bogdanovich.

“Until recently, only 25 original editions existed in Belarus, from a circulation of 2,000,” explains the museum’s Director, Tatiana Shelyagovich. “Luckily, another copy has been discovered. Vyanok was published in Vilno with support from Princess Magdalena Radziwill. Of course, we aren’t the only museum preparing for the poet’s anniversary. The National Library of Belarus is to release a multimedia edition on CD, comprising all the verses and articles written by the Belarusian literary classic, alongside musical compositions based on his works. The museum’s archive contains many personal items from the Bogdanovich family. These are to be exhibited at our branch of Belaruskaya Khatka — currently undergoing reconstruction ready for re-opening on the eve of the jubilee. The poet himself once dreamt of creating a puppet theatre.”

Maxim spent his childhood in Grodno, with his home becoming a museum in 1986. It boasts some very unusual exhibits. For example, Belarusian poetess Larisa Geniyush donated her embroideries depicting cornflowers, which the poet especially loved. These are often brought to his monument in Minsk.

Russia also honours the memory of Maxim Bogdanovich, with a permanent museum exhibition in the family’s Yaroslavl house, where they lived for several years. In this city, Maxim fell in love with Anna Kokueva, to whom he devoted many verses; some later became songs. Minsk museum employees often visit Russian Yaroslavl.

“Collaboration will continue in future,” stresses Ms. Shelyagovich. “Maxim Bogdanovich spent just five years in his native land. It’s wonderful that museums beyond Belarus also revere him, gathering artefacts which remind us of his life and creativity.”

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