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Musical souls

Chris McNab | 23rd January 2019

My soul has landed on the heart of a beauty. Just look at it. I am dragging my body back from the grave I am scouring the earth for my soul. – Maraltay Rayimbekuly Poet Maraltay Rayimbekuly, whom I spoke with today, is a gift for any interviewer. He is an extraordinary character. Energetic and […]

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Passion in poetry

Chris McNab | 22nd January 2019

Let me die. For heaven’s sake. Let me die. I don’t need earth, air, the moon or sun – if I can simply see you. – Tanagoz Tolkynkyzy Romantic love, jostling for top spot with mortality and nature, undoubtedly sits at the summit in the hierarchy of poetic themes. It has produced a cornucopia of […]

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South to Almaty

Chris McNab | 21st January 2019

Today we head for Almaty. This journey is something of a landmark event for me, as although I have been to Kazakhstan more than 20 times previously, work commitments have always unerringly steered me to Astana, never to the former capital. When I’ve mentioned this to Kazakh colleagues in the past they’ve have always looked […]

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‘Kindness saves us’

Chris McNab | 11th January 2019

It’s been one of those humbling days. The first of Kazakh poet I met was Marfuga Aitkhozina, an elderly, still extraordinary, lady known lyrically as the ‘Swan of Poetry’. Chinese born, she moved to Kazakhstan in 1958 and shortly thereafter (1962) published her first works of poetry, beginning an exceptional literary career that has arched […]

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Arrival in the land of Tengri

Chris McNab | 10th January 2019

After an uncomplicated journey, we arrived in Astana today. The reception in-country was physically bracing (-17°C and falling) – it is deep winter here – but, as always, socially warm. We were welcomed by capable representatives of the National Bureau of Translation; their smiles and genuine helpfulness, so typical of the people here, reminded me […]

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