Gennady Alamia


Gennady Alamia was born in the Abkhazian village of Kutol in July, 1949.  He studied Physics and mathematics in Sukhum, then he moved to Moscow and graduated from the Literary Institute of the USSR's Writer's Union. His translator (into Russian) is his close friend, Denis Chachkhalia. Gennady has published six collections of poems in the Abkhazian language and three in Russian. Among his translators are the famous poets Fazil Iskander and Lev Ozerov. Gennady has translated many poems and plays into Abkhazian, including "Grief from mind" by Griboedev, which met with great success at the Sukhum Drama Theatre. He made innovations in Abkhazian verse forms. He is now Editor-in-Chief of the magazine "Circassian World", which is published in Turkish, Russian, and English.


The poem "Seed of Fire" is dedicated to Dirmit Gulia, the founder of Abkhazian written literature, who spent his childhood in exile, but returned to Abkhazia, and died at the age of 90 in 1963.




by Gennady Alamia


(translated by Inga Dolinina Hitchcock, Galiya Kalimova, and JonArno Lawson)

Someday this People will manage to reach out
To a more benevolent fate
But just now
At the very edge of death
In this gloomy canyon
Where it's dark and damp
This People, who have not yet settled
Their life
Are squirming painfully
In the body of the world.


*            *              *

Among them
Are the bearers of fire
Preserving in their souls
The fire's simple seed.
And by the end of the day
You had started a fire -
When the time came
You returned to the hearth
You came back to your native land


Here was the stone
And here were the ashes
Even to look at them
Was pure anguish


So you gave birth in the old stones
To the fire
Which had gone out
Returning it to its flaming and glowing
Blazing as it blazed
A hundred centuries ago
Giving light in your own house
It was the best of cures.


And that one who used to say
That here
There will never be fire again,
He who said that
He came here
In order to warm himself.


This fire
In the hands
Of your people
It's the best of news
Better than proofs
And justifications
And it's you who rules this fire
You who brings the warmth


To no one do you bring misery.