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Poet Fazil Iskander and his guardian angel Antonina Khlebnikova: 55 years of gifted inspiration
Poet Fazil Iskander and his guardian angel Antonina Khlebnikova: 55 years of gifted inspiration

They lived together for 55 years, Fazil Iskander, the world famous and recognized poet and prose writer, and Antonina Khlebnikova, a modest woman who became the guardian angel of the genius. The mutual attraction of two outstanding personalities could not destroy either the complex character of the poet, or his rather strict requirements for his own family. And if the life of a genius, which, undoubtedly, was Fazil Iskander, is interesting in itself, then the fate of his only wife is already a real feat that is worthy of perpetuation.

The charm of poetry

Fazil Iskander in his youth

They met in Sukhumi, where a modest Moscow girl Antonina came to rest, accompanied by her mother. When Fazil Iskander saw her in the company of two elderly women, he was completely struck by the incredible fragility of the girl. Then she stopped at the dock and, leaning on the barrier, looked at the docking boat. When Fazil turned to her, she was even delighted. Simply because this small boat had already grown in her fantasies to a smugglers' ship and, as it turned out, he almost literally repeated her speculation.

Then there were dates, when all evening Fazil Iskander read Antonina Khlebnikova's poems, his own and others'. And she listened and looked at him as if he were a celestial, eagerly absorbing every line. Tonya herself once wanted to become a poetess, but her parents insisted on getting her daughter a more serious profession, and she went to the economic one. She wrote poetry all her life, however, she tried not to show them to anyone - she was shy.

Antonina Khlebnikova-Iskander

Their wedding was very unusual. Fazil Iskander moved away from Abkhaz traditions and informed his family about the marriage after the fact. But his family immediately gathered all the relatives of the bride and groom in the house of Fazil's sister in Sukhumi. For the first time, Tony's parents saw such a scale, listened to such beautiful flowery speeches of a real Caucasian toastmaster.

Fazil Iskander and Antonina Khlebnikova

True, the very next day the girl saw that her father had a hemorrhage in the eye from overvoltage. Uncle Tony's own uncle reproached her father for giving his girl to a Caucasian, who is not only 10 years older (it was just still possible to put up with this), but also a poet, a bohemian. Antonina consoled her father as best she could, but her most important argument was indecent, incredible happiness, which she then wanted to share with the whole world.

Poetry maker at home

Fazil Iskander and Antonina Khlebnikova

Antonina never claimed the supremacy in anything, deciding once and for all: the man should be the main thing in the family. She respected the Abkhaz traditions, which she was taught by Leli Khasanovna, mother of Fazil Iskander. She was an uneducated but very intelligent woman who raised three children herself. Fazil Iskander himself managed to find a middle ground between the aristocratic family of his father, who was exiled to Iran when his son was still very young, and the peasant wisdom of his mother's family.

Fazil Iskander

Despite the popularity of Fazil Abdulovich, they often lived hard. There were times when it was not published, and Antonina Mikhailovna alone had to take care of providing for her family. But she knew: her husband was actually a genius. And, in addition to work, she always thought about how to create good conditions for him to work.

He could not create away from his wife and children, but he could not work in the noise, he needed loneliness. After the birth of Alexander, their second child, the long-awaited son, the writer put another partition in his office and asked him to knock the door with felt so that extraneous sounds would not penetrate into his workspace. Daughter Marina was already 20 years old at that time.

Antonina Khlebnikova-Iskander

According to Fazil Abdulovich, for inspiration he needed the silence and "rustle" of the family outside the door. Households are used to being very quiet so as not to interfere with the father and husband to create their masterpieces. Friends of the family even called Antonina Mikhailovna "Madame Shorokh".

Fazil Iskander and Antonina Khlebnikova

Fazil Iskander generally divided all poetry into “poetry at home” and “poetry of homelessness”. Pushkin is poetry at home, and Lermontov is poetry of homelessness. Thanks to Antonina Mikhailovna, he wrote "poetry at home." Only because she, his muse, his beloved woman and the first critic, created a harmonious space for him.

Just happiness

Fazil Iskander with his wife and children

He never praised her in public and almost never complimented her. At first, Antonina Mikhailovna was a little offended by this, and then she realized: all this is from natural modesty. He considered it immodest to brag about his wife, just as it is indecent to boast of his financial situation.

Fazil Iskander with his wife and son

He poured out all his love in his poems. Only his creations are capable of showing all the power of love and gratitude of an outstanding poet. However, Antonina Mikhailovna herself learned to express her emotions and feelings in rhyme. Her poems are capacious, piercing, filled with depth and meaning. She dared to show them to her husband only when their son was already two years old. He was not enthusiastic, but he did not scold his wife's creativity, but he gave some practical advice.

Fazil Iskander and Antonina Khlebnikova

But the highest recognition was the consent of Fazil Abdulovich to the publication of their joint book "Snow and Grapes", published after their golden wedding. They write about love, he is in the first part of "The Formula of the Rose", she is in the second "Shoots of the Soul". True, Antonina Mikhailovna herself had to be persuaded for a long time to collect her poems, and sometimes even shamed.

The last years of the life of the writer Antonina Mikhailovna wrote heavy poetry. In them, she tried to convey the abyss of grief that she experiences, seeing her husband inexorably approaching his last line. Then he became almost a child for her. She was around the clock with her beloved, and when he fell asleep, over and over again wrote down her thoughts in her poetry diary. Sad, filled with the inevitability of loss.

Antonina Khlebnikova-Iskander

After the death of her husband on July 31, 2016, Antonina Mikhailovna tried to find the fulcrum that would allow her to live on. And then she began to prepare her collection of poetry for publication. About myself and about him, about love and about life. It was the book that helped her cope with the misfortune and find the strength to stay on this land, where he no longer exists …

Throughout his life, Robert Rozhdestvensky carried love for one woman. He dedicated dozens of his poems to her - to his wife, Alla Kireeva. When the poet was diagnosed with a brain tumor, she did not give up and was able to extend his life by 4 years. They were married for 41 years, but she herself later called it her happiness and grief at the same time.

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