Cinnamon for Fans

30 May 2008 text Nikola Shahpazov, photos Ilian Ruzhin
This text is about theatre, poetry and the C section on Bulgarian Army stadium. The common element among these three topics is Elin Rahnev – a journalist, a passionate fan of the football team CSKA, capable of representing life in Bulgaria as a minibus or glorifying the football predilections of the Pope. We met Elin in a café, a hundred meters away from the Satirical Theatre and discussed his new book of poetry Canela (cinnamon) and some other things.

How do you combine dramaturgy, poetry and journalism? To what extent do they influence one another?
They are totally different but I am also constantly in different states too. Whatever I do, I always do my best to make it personal – depending only on my gastric juice and my heart rhythm. I never do anything by force. For example many people now wonder why I delayed my new book. People who write publish books in cycles and in series.

How do you create poetry?
One could write verses when having high blood pressure – when being totally aware – poetry is not a funny thing. It is like showing yourself from the inside. There are no tricks in poetry. It is the utmost kind of art together with music.

Your poetry is very personal. Does that make it hard to accept for readers?
That is a tough question. It makes no difference for me who reads it, it is still personal. There is no non-personal poetry. If someone writes non-personal poetry he is stupid and betrays the idea. In poetry you can’t be a public person you could only be yourself.

That is your fourth book of poetry, is it worth publishing it here, in Bulgaria?
I am a happy man. My previous books are out of print now but I have seen them copied or loaded at different forums. The other important thing about poetry is that it must be read absolutely everywhere – in clubs, rooms, basements, in company. You must always bear in mind that the paper body of the book is not the most important thing – the most important thing is the verse.

You say that Canela shows the most important things that have happened to you for the last ten years. What did they teach you?
For a long time I was living with the conviction that everybody has to like me but now I know it is not necessary. When dealing with literature it is not necessary to look for a place in history and to have your name written in textbooks. Writing is not a competition it is just a natural act and nothing else.

Your performances are surely very well received from the audience for sure, if not by critics.
I would be called a fool if I make complaints about the audience. Even my first play Bob (Beans) was performed in front of a full theatre hall. Fans has been played for six seasons now and the tickets finish very fast. I think it is true because I know that from the people in the theatre. Here is another thing that has changed for the last ten years – I am absolutely not interested in critics. I do realize that for some people a full hall means they could be accused in being too commercial. I am accused in such thing, in fact for the play Marshrutka (Minibus). The truth is the play is dedicated to one of my best friends who drives a mini bus and I wrote it at all in a breath… I have never written a play as a worker or as a craftsman.

Are you working on a new play?
I have ideas but I find it hard to complete them. I don’t have to write – I do it only when I feel necessity. When time is right I close myself for a couple of days and finish all the writing. During the rest of the time I live my other life that is sometimes wonderful.

Canela is in bookstores, 10lv


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