There are two things that the Georgian poet Maia Sarisjvili (1968) clearly cannot get enough of: children and poems.
She has studied pedagogy, is the mother of four children and teaches at primary school. Being this busy does not prevent her from writing poetry. Even so, there is a great difference between her way of dealing with her large family and professional life and her life as a poet. She is brimful of energy and creativity when it comes to making life attractive for her children at home and those at school. Her inner poet, however, has to fall into line: in stolen small hours in the middle of the night, the joys and cares great and small of the day just past find poetic expression. Her poetry reads like a catalogue of the madness of everyday life and the contrasting sense of rest that emanates from children.
Sarisjvili deals with everyday subjects by referring to concrete objects and actions. Her poetry displays a realistic and materialistic touch that she refashions in her spiritual search for the nature and power of woman. Her work is suffused with images that, because of their directness, corporality and psychological force, have introduced a new sound into Georgian poetry. Maia Sarisjvili writes short, evocative poems that contain everything in one breath.
I constantly surprise Georgians when I talk to them about their female poets. Many of them are scarcely known, they are published in driblets and are not to be found on the wanted lists of TV producers and organisers of literary gatherings. Female poetry in the landscape of Georgian poetry has all the characteristics of a diary: it consists of tough statements of what it is like to live as a woman, wife, mother and daughter. The existentialist tone is perhas reminiscent of the work of Sylvia Plath, who is a considerable model for many female Georgian poets.
cxadis gadafarva (‘Covering reality’) (2001)
sami vedro Tovli (‘Three buckets of snow’)
Zalian cudi kaci~ (‘A really bad man’)
Wiamaiebis ojaxi~ (‘The ladybird family’)
[Maya Sarishvili took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2007.
This text was written on that occasion.]