Danil Kharms Resting Place/Owen’s Window – Poetry News Roundup February 25th

Today in our poetry news round-up we take a look at an article about the final resting place of Daniil Kharms. We also look at the fund for a window to commemorate Wilfred Owen.

Poets Burial Place Confirmed

It is believed that the final resting place of Daniil Kharms, one of the founding members of the Oberiu avant-garde collective has been located after much research.

Researchers into the poet believe that they have now pinpointed his place of burial in the Piskarevskoye cemetery in St Petersburg to one of two mass graves, either plot 9 or plot 23.

The research has been carried out by the committee for the Kharms prize. It was initially believed that the poet may have been buried at either Theological, Seraphim or Piskarevsky cemeteries however it was not known exactly which one. However, a detailed study of documentation relating to the cemeteries has indicated that the poet’s body had been taken to Piskarevsky.

The documentation indicated that in February 1942 a significant number of bodies were buried in the mass graves of plots 9 and 23. Unfortunately, it is not possible to say exactly which grave contains the poets remains.

On making the discovery the committee erected a small plaque in honour of the poet on grave site 9, it read “Here lies the Kharms” in Latin. This was later removed by the authorities. It is not known if a more permanent marker will be put up at some point in the future.

Born Daniil Kharms (Yuvachev) in December 1905 in St Petersburg, he began writing poetry in the mid-1920s and was published in a number of almanacs. Towards the end of the 1920’s he also published a number of children’s stories.

He was one of the founding members of OBERIU, a literary group dedicated to the Association of real art. His works were read out loud at a meeting and his poems were published in a number of manuscripts. In 1930, the work of the group was banned. In 1931 he was arrested with other members of the group; they were sentenced to three years in prison. The sentence was later commuted to exile in Kursk. When he returned from exile he continued with his writing. He was arrested again in August 1941 when he denounced his friend and fellow poet Anna Akhmatova. In order to escape execution, he pretended to be mad and was committed to a psychiatric hospital where he died of starvation in 1942.

Snowdrop Celebration Helps to Fund Poets Window

A Celebration of Snowdrops, which took place on Sunday at All Saints’ Church in Dunsden raised over £1000.

The church has connections with the war poet Wilfred Owen who was an assistant to the vicar before his death in battle at the age of 25. Whilst the money from the sale is earmarked for the replacement of some of the tables and chairs at the church any leftover will be put in a fund for the proposed Wilfred Owen window. The cost of the window is estimated at £14,000.

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