Peyo Yavorov: The Genius of Bulgarian Poetry

Society » CULTURE | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |March 30, 2024, Saturday // 08:55
Bulgaria: Peyo Yavorov: The Genius of Bulgarian Poetry

The fate of Yavorov inevitably shakes the sensitive hearts!” - Katya Zografova “The Worlds of Yavorov

Peyo Totev Kracholov (better known as Peyo Yavorov) was born in Chirpan on January 13 (January 1 old style) 1878. He is one of the most remarkable Bulgarian poets of the 20th century - a symbolist, a revolutionary whose tragic life and deep spirituality undoubtedly influenced his poetic works. The dramatic way of perceiving the world, the despair and the doubts that tear a man apart and do not give him peace are present in Yavorov's poems. He presents the mindset of the modern man who realizes that he lacks a sense of stability and freedom, which is why he is forever searching for himself, living with the consciousness that he cannot find the points of reference that give meaning to his existence.

Yavorov's poetry, symbolist, and metaphysical, imbued with anguish about “the eternal questions that no century has resolved”, seems to portray all the suffering gathered in the Bulgarian soul. His lyrics' main images and motifs are death, suffering, love, loneliness, and the road. The poet, through his immeasurable talent and sensitive soul, manages to capture these dark colors and transform pain in the most beautiful way possible. The genius Yavorov is a world-class poet who manages to shake everyone who touches his writing.

Some of the most significant works and literary masterpieces in Bulgarian literature written by Yavorov are: “Градушка” (“Hailstorm”), “Калиопа” (“Calliope”), “Нощ” (“Night”), “Песен на песента ми” (“Song of My Song”), “Песента на човека” (“The Song of Man”), “Шепот насаме” (“Whisper Alone”), “Тома” (“Toma”), “Маска” (“Mask”), “Да славим пролетта” (“Let Us Praise the Spring”), “Покаяние” (“Repentance”), “Нирвана” (“Nirvana”), “В часа на синята мъгла” (“In the Hour of the Blue Mist”). His love masterpieces are also unsurpassed: “Две хубави очи” (“Two Lovely Eyes”), “Стон” (“Wail”), “Не бой се и ела” (“Do Not Be Afraid and Come”), “Вълшебница” (“Sorceress”), “Ще бъдеш в бяло” (“You Will Be in White”), “Пръстен с опал” (“Opal Ring”), “Обичам те” (“I Love You”), “Благовещение” (“Annunciation”).

Yavorov grew up as a feeble and shy child. He started school in his hometown and then studied at the local junior high school. After the third year, he moved to Plovdiv, where he studied until the fifth year of high school. His father sent him to learn a trade, believing he did not need to study. Yavorov did not finish school and remained deeply disappointed with his father's decision. However, he continued to educate himself throughout his life, and he also became fascinated by socialist literature. From 1897 to 1901 he worked as a telegrapher, changing different locations - Chirpan, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Straldzha, Pomorie, Sofia.

He witnessed a hailstorm in the Sliven region, which influenced the writing of the poem “Градушка” (“Hail”), which can be attributed to the “first period” of his work, namely the social period (“the second period” is the so-called “modern/symbolist”, influenced by French Symbolism). During his work, he met Armenians who had been exiled from the Ottoman Empire. As Katya Zografova recounts in her book “The Worlds of Yavorov– “the theme of the fate of the brave sufferers had been maturing in the poet for a long time”. At the end of 1899, Yavorov finished his poetic masterpiece “Armenians”. The occasion for writing it was an incident in a small pub at Skobelevo station, where he witnessed the woes of the Armenian settlers in Bulgaria. The poem builds a generalized image of the sufferers driven from their homeland.

After 1897 he established contacts with the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. Yavorov was one of the closest collaborators and comrades of the first leader and freedom fighter of Macedonia - Gotse Delchev and his first biographer as he wrote – “Gotse Delchev” in 1904. A strong mental blow was dealt to him after Gotse Delchev's death in 1903 after which he was partially separated from his revolutionary activities.

In 1898 he began to send poems to Dr. Krastev from the literary magazine “Thought”(“Misal”), who published them. However, the poet was renamed because the editors felt that the name Kracholov was not suitable for such beautiful poems. Therefore, he was given the pseudonym Yavorov by Pencho Slaveykov.

The "Thought" (Misal) circle, Pencho Slaveykov, Peyo Yavorov, Petko Todorov, Dr. Krastyo Krastev

With the assistance of Dr. Krastyo Krastev and Pencho Slaveykov, Yavorov moved to Sofia and became an associate and editor of the literary magazine "Thought" published by them. His first work, which greatly impressed the aesthetes of the "Thought" circle and became an integral part of it, was the poem "Calliope". In 1901, he published his first collection of poems titled "Poems", which became an emblematic literary event. The second edition of the book is from 1904 and has a foreword by Pencho Slaveykov. During this period, the poet worked as a librarian, and later as a dramatist of the National Theater. The fruit of his work in the theater are two plays - "At the Skirts of Vitosha" (1910) and "When thunder strikes, how the echo fades" (1912). Sent several times abroad to improve his literature - in Nancy, Geneva, Vienna, Paris, Yavorov diligently read modern French poetry. In 1905, he became close friends with Dora Gabe. Adjusting to the vanity and poverty of the literary and secular manners in the capital proved to be quite challenging for him

Love in the life and work of the poet

Two women occupied a central place in the life and work of Peyo Yavorov - Mina Todorova and Lora Kavarvelova. In 1906 the poet fell in love with 16-year-old Mina, sister of Petko Todorov. She was an extremely modest and fragile girl, carrying a beautiful soul, who forever captivated Yavorov. He dedicated his poems "Two lovely eyes", "Annunciation" and "Enchantress". However, their love was impossible, due to the reluctance of the girl's relatives for her to connect her life with Yavorov’s. For him, the beloved was an angel, a child, a desire and a dream. She was unattainable, bright and sublime, and the love he felt for her was deep, pure and sincere. Mina Todorova died of tuberculosis in a sanatorium and was buried in Paris, France. In 1910 on one of his trips, Yavorov sent his farewell to her. After losing Mina, he fell into severe depression.

“Two lovely eyes. A child's soul
In two lovely eyes - music - sunrise.
They want and promise nothing at all...
I'm praying for your soul,"

"Two lovely eyes"

"Две хубави очи. Душата на дете
в две хубави очи; -музика – лъчи
Не искат и не обещават те…
Душата ми се моли,"

“Две хубави очи”

In Paris, at the grave of his beloved, Lora Karavelova found Yavorov. She confessed her feelings for him and they both started living together in Sofia. In 1912 the two lovers got married shortly before Yavorov left for the front in Kyustendil. Lora was rich and wayward, the daughter of former Prime Minister Petko Todorov. She developed paranoid jealousy and was prone to hysteria. The correspondence between the two testifies to the ardent and stormy love between them, marked by many passions and excitements. To Lora, the poet dedicated his poem "Wail". For the lyrical hero, love was sinful and passionate, associated with hellish pain, and his soul was wounded by such an experience. The fatal end came on November 29, 1913, when Lora shot herself and Yavorov attempted suicide (he left a one-line obituary: "My dear Lora shot herself. I will follow her"). The shot only pierced the temple and blinded him. Abandoned by everyone and crushed by the trial, on October 29, 1914, the poet took a large dose of poison and shot himself. Yavorov's only wish was to be buried in his Chetnik (revolutionary) clothes. Although the poet left this world, the mark he left in Bulgarian literature remains eternal. And that's why he is a Bulgarian you should know about.

More Bulgarians you should know about:

Dechko Uzunov

Rayna Knyaginya

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Tags: poetry, yavorov, Bulgarian, peyo

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