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Nikolay Kanchev’s Poetry for Children. Forms of Control, “Places” of Freedom

Nadezhda Stoyanova

Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski

The communist ideological status quo did not allow the Bulgarian poet Nikolay Kanchev to
publish his works in the period 1968 – 1980. The only exception was made for his poetry for
children. Later, after the rehabilitation of the author in the 1980s and 1990s, his children’s works
were read mainly as a compensatory gesture and were very often ignored by the literary critics.
The aim of the study is to outline the lyrical independence of these works by focusing on their
interpretation of the control over the person and the escape routes of the subject into secret
personal spaces and in poetry. This process unfolds in two steps. The first is related to the
various forms of rational demythologizing, “disenchantment” of false images of heroism and
obedience, and the second is related to the introspection as self-preservation through the artistic
or poetic experience. In this aspect, Nikolay Kanchev’s lyrics, although as if focused on the
possibilities of adaptation to the community through the chosen professional path, actually sets a
rather different direction of socialization. It is not horizontal – it is not connected to the inclusion
of the young person in social strata or groups, but it is vertical – it manifests itself through the
concept of the shared poets’ experience, or through the idea of / faith in the metaphysical nature
of art.
Keywords: Nikolay Kanchev, children’s poetry, ideological control, freedom

*The study has been submitted for publication in the proceedings of the research conference
“The Path of Bulgarian Children’s Literature, June 30 – July 1, 2022.