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"I’m not alone as I have the book..."

At the end of 1913, Martin Kukhta’s printing house published the collection of selected poems by Maxim Bogdanovich “Vyanok” (“The Wreath”) – the book uniting poetry and fate of the Belarusian lyrist.

For lack of funding, Maxim Bogdanovich’s first and only lifetime book had been printed long and issued at the beginning of 1914 only in circulation of 2 000 copies. “The book of selected poems” – such was the name given by Maxim Bogdanovich to the collection, but its final name and dedication “The Wreath on S.E. Polujan’s Tomb” was given by Vaclav Lastovsky when the collection was in press.

This is a small, decently designed book (the name of artist is unknown). The cover features a stylized cornflower – a symbol of the Belarusian lyrist’s poetry. The title of the collection features a sign "Swan". This is the emblem of the Zavishas family – the certificate of gratitude to Magdalena Radzivill, the investor of the book.

After publication of “The Wreath” the poet presented some copies to his relatives, friends and acquaintances. Each book has its own history and fate. The found copies of “The Wreath” are kept in libraries and museums of Belarus and Russia. About 30 copies of the unique lifetime collection of Maxim Bogdanovich’s verses are actually known.

The National Library of Belarus has only one original copy of “The Wreath”, but it is very valuable as it is autographed by the poet. The title page features an inscription made by Maxim Bogdanovich’s hand. The inscription written in copy-book hand and black ink lightly faded from time reads: “To Nicolay Rafailovich Kokuev from the author. M. Bogdanovich. Yaroslavl. 1914”. Nicolay Rafailovich Kokuev is the poet’s Yaroslavl schoolfellow. During his last years at gymnasium, Maxim often paid visits to his schoolmates – Raphael and Nicolay Kokuev. In their home he got acquainted with their sister Anna with whom he fell in love. Though the young people separated afterwards, their clear and pure youthful love gave Belarusian literature real masterpieces of poetry. The poet devoted to Anna Kokueva his poetic cycle "Madonna" and a lot of poems written in different years. Some researchers believe that the poet’s high feelings towards this girl inspired him to write the wonderful “Romance” (“The Star of Venus Rising”).

The rare copy of “The Wreath” was sent to the State Library of the BSSR mane after V.I. Lenin in 1971 from Leningrad. The valuable present was made by Nicolay Ivanovich Lileev, the son of Anna Kokueva.

Nina Vatatsi, the honored cultural worker of the BSSR, known bibliographer and literary critic, was one of the researchers who rediscovered Maxim Bogdanovich’s name in Belarusian literature. She was named as “Maxim Bogdanovich’s biographer”. The unknown texts, autographs, photos, letters and other materials are the results of her long-term work. Nina Vatatsi’s books “The Poet’s Way” (1975); “Maxim Bogdanovich. The example of a work, an autograph and critical literature” (1976); “The Paths” (1986) truly became a key to little-known pages in the life and creativity of the Belarusian classic. Nina Vatatsi worked at the National Library of Belarus for more than half a century having made a career starting from an assistant librarian up to a chief bibliographer.

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