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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

A year-long telethon

Or What made engineers to emotionally read aloud Vasyl Symonenko’s poems, and Zhytomyr governor recite an excerpt from Ivan Kotliarevsky’s Aeneid?
27 January, 2014 - 17:55

Zhytomyr Regional State TV and Radio Company (ZhRSTVRC) decided to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Taras Shevchenko with a poetry marathon. This large-scale project involves creating nearly 400 videos with lyrics taken from poems by classics of Ukrainian literature and local poets which will be broadcast on Zhytomyr TV every day throughout 2014.

“It will be daily poetry session, with 360 poems broadcast over 360 days. Since 2014 is a Shevchenko anniversary year, celebrating the man whom we see first and foremost as a poet, we would like to draw the attention of the audience to Shevchenko’s poetry and poetry in general,” the ZhRSTVRC’s director general, Honored Journalist of Ukraine, Vasyl Holovetsky said in his comment for The Day.

He explained the format choice by poetry’s ability to draw human attention and enable speaking figuratively. By the way, Holovetsky is a member of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine (NUWU) and the author of nine books of prose and poetry.

Although the marathon is supported by the NUWU’s regional branch and local literary studios, the company decided that poems would be read not only by professional actors and poets, but also by university and secondary school students, teachers, journalists, and common citizens of Zhytomyr who like the poetic word.

In addition, the project imposes no restrictions on the authorship of participating poems. So as to not narrow the scope of the telethon, people are allowed to recite works by Shevchenko as well as any other relevant poems. Language restrictions are absent as well, so anyone may recite poetry in Ukrainian, Russian, English, or any other language.

The first participants of the marathon were the ZhRSTVRC’s employees themselves, regional drama theater’s actors and amateurs from the region’s districts.

The marathon started on New Year’s night with poems by Shevchenko, recited by the company’s program director Volodymyr Berelet.

Television viewers have noticed that the project’s participants recite by heart mostly lyrical or patriotic poems that they have learned at school. Some people recite their own works, too. Holovetsky recalled that he was surprised to hear an engineer reciting Vasyl Symonenko’s poems and Zhytomyr governor Serhii Ryzhuk presenting a colorful and juicy recitation of a rather big excerpt from Ivan Kotliarevsky’s Aeneid.

The actual project manager is the ZhRSTVRC’s editor-in-chief Svitlana Zaremba, a graduate of the Leningrad Institute of Culture. She chooses every day’s performers from the footage stock. During the day, the poem is broadcast several times as part of the new thematic category “Constellation of Poetry.”

By the way, according to Holovetsky, his TV channel, not content with hosting the poetry marathon, has also begun shooting documentary feature film about Shevchenko’s stay in what was to become Zhytomyr region (then the town of Vilsk, Novohrad-Volynsky county). They have already completed work on feature scenes. Farming implements and clothing of the epoch were borrowed from the regional drama theater. Its creators plan to finish the work on movie before March, because it is slated to premiere as part of the Great Bard’s of Ukraine 200th birth anniversary celebrations on March 9.

By Tamara KOVAL, Zhytomyr