- Georgia -
Irakli Kakabadze was born in 1982. He got his education at Theological Seminary, Tbilisi and St. Petersburg state universities. He is a teacher and was an editor of the magazine and online newspaper Mastsavlebeli (teacher) for a number of years.
Kakabadze is an author of poetry and prose collections: Letters and Wire Fences (2010), Iaki Kabe – Tankas (2012), The State by a Gallop (2013), Ellipsis (2015), Book of Exodus (2018), Amaghleba Street (2020) and others.
He also translates poetry from Turkish language to Georgian. He has translated authors such as Nâzım Hikmet, Orhan Veli and Lale Müldür.
His book Iaki Kabe – Tankas was a national bestseller in 2013. His works have been translated to English, Turkish, Arabic, Lithuanian, French and Belarus languages. Irakli has participated in a number of literary festivals and programs. He also is an activist and advocates for human rights and freedom of speech.
Kakabadze currently lives in Istanbul. He is the founder of Georgian culture center Galaktioni and Georgian diasporic society in Istanbul. He teaches Georgian language in universities and other educational centers.
Turkish translation of his Book of Exodus was listed as a bestseller by Turkish bookshop chain Pandora in 2022.
Iaki Kabe is the authors PEN name under which he has published series of Tankas. He was initially publishing them in different periodicals together with translations of Japanese poetry. He later included 100 poems in the collection published in 2012, honoring an ancient Japanese tradition of 100 poem anthologies. These are not simply nature or eco lyrics dedicated to snowy mountains or overflown rivers. His tankas are a bouquet of poetic images that is a part of reality, life itself and does not separate from reality. With social poetry in the form of Japanese aesthetics Iakli Kabe makes this lyrical form natural and inherent for Georgian readers.
About a goodbye / ერთი დამშვიდობების შესახებ
I’m writing about February,
a grey February.
A February overcome by buds.
I’m writing about the burden of emptiness,
a grey emptiness.
An emptiness filled with winds.
I’m writing about a sorrowful goodbye,
a sorrowful look during this goodbye and
a thousand gazes in one look.
I’m writing about eyes,
open eyes and
long corridors in these eyes.
I’m writing about February,
A February overcome by buds…
I gaze at my elderly mother in the yard
‘Who is she watering: the tree or her own life?’
It seems I am a tree,
it seems I am standing,
in a shrivelled autumn field.
Not leaves but
people do I shed
with every gust of wind…
No longer can I love,
no longer am I capable of loving.
Every lake has dried out,
first it became a bog,
which I sank in with passion,
swam with feeling.
Yet a desert is no desert,
unless the farthest oasis is barely visible:
a mirage of spring water and palm shade…
I used to be thrilled by the celebration of spring,
but now it saddens me greatly,
tell me, heart,
have I grown up,
or have I got smaller?
An icon painted on a fence
you, Mother of God
of belated spring,
why is it so?
You exploded into bloom for us here
and right here, close by,
very close by:
in Bucha and Mariupol
hacked and exploded on mines
For the third day
in our village
the fog does not lift:
The best time to be had
Through a field of dandelions,
for the sake of lovers,
the wind passes warily…
The breeze of an April evening,
in the tree’s bare branches
so far only the stars tremble…
A lesson for the poet / გაკვეთილი პოეტისთვის
Inside park gates,
within locked-up squares,
in sold-off forests
birds don’t abandon their song…
For three weeks the phone is silent,
the radio sings,
on my lap the dog has fallen asleep…
Since morning we have fought,
my mother and I, against traitorous old age,
we pulled out the ottoman,
we opened every cupboard.
We ask the dog,
we rolled up the multicoloured rug.
We can’t find them anywhere,
Spring. Prague / გაზაფხული. პრაღა
Even the tramline,
even the breeze,
even the gaze of the leafless,
dust-covered trees and
even the hands on the old clocks
are heading there,
where rain streams in the city’s eyes…
It is spring,
by moonlight you cannot make out
where a star or the cherry plum blossom is…
Why do you torment me,
why do you accuse me of inaction?
I am no doctor,
Why do I imagine,
no longer breathing.
As though blown up by a mine,
lying at my side
Beslan / ბესლანი
How can you bear it
you plane trees, now silent,
all lined up along the road of bullet-riddled children…?
Your greeting is, most likely,
grass sprouting up in the snow…
In the bareness of winter
as ambassadors of spring stand
Why does she reminisce so often about childhood
my elderly mother,
Could death be waiting for us by the door?
During a downpour,
daffodils of a boy sheltering in the bus stop,
I wonder, ‘Where are they hurrying…?’
Instead of their parents
waves wash the wounds
of Syrian children washed ashore…
on the sill for the birds,
which flew away in autumn
never to return…?
A poet died,
coming back from the cemetery the poet’s wife
will water the potted flowers…
a life-ring launched
for moths in the autumn cold…
not a single leaf quivers on the tree.
The new leaves don’t yet know
how far it is
from the tree to the ground…
Stubbornly they still come flying in with springtide
the red-bellied redstarts,
on this highway, instead of concrete,
blueberries always used to thrive…
The first ray of morning in the room
seeks out the photos arrayed
on the mirror frame…
On a deserted September shore
beside the furled umbrellas
a cat and a gull are squabbling over a fish…
In the shade of the leaves
the earth is damp.
Don’t get cold
below the earth,
a high wintry treetop,
a bird is late returning to its chicks…
In the street a familiar back
among a thousand unknown backs
vanished from me…
She’s in a hurry,
but, train, why ever do you hurry
to part us?
The mountains frolicked
to the tune of the train’s horn,
at the village station it’s springtime…
‘I love you,’ I say, angering myself,
even I, a poet, haven’t learned
that words of goodbye are unalike…
How differently this autumn arrived,
with leaves strewn
through the door you left open…
Past my house
the soldiers went down and
as I watched them a thought haunted me:
could there be anything in this world
worth the blood of these children?!