Paata Shamugia [Georgia]

 

Guest 2017

Biography

Paata Shamugia was born in 1983 in Abkhazia, Georgia. He studied philology at Tbilisi State University and subsequently worked for various journals and publishing houses.

Shamugia has written essays but is above all an author of numerous poems that have thus far been published in seven collections. He became known to a wide circle of readers in 2007 with the publication of »Anti-Tkaosani«. The title is a word play on the famous Georgian medieval epic poem »The Knight in the Panther’s Skin«, which was written between 1196 and 1207 by the Georgian national poet, Shota Rustaveli, at the behest of Queen Tamar of Georgia. Shamugia’s book unleashed much controversy in his home country, engaging the press and television media for several months in a discussion on the level of irreverence that should be permitted concerning historic literary figures. Shamugia’s poetic texts are often written in an ironic, provocative style. The literary critic Tskheli Shokoladi has referred to Shamugia as »a flower blooming upon the rubbish heap of post-Soviet Georgia«. In 2010 he published »Advantage«, his second volume of poetry, which also attracted much attention, yet, unlike his first volume, provoked thoroughly positive reactions among readers and critics alike. His next book, »Akathistos« (2011), earned Shamugia the most important Georgian literature prize, SABA, as did his volume of poetry published in 2015 titled »Schizosociety«, in which he again experiments with language in his everlasting quest for new metaphors and far-reaching allegories. Paata Shamugia is a master at combining the comic with the tragic. His comprehensive knowledge of literature and philosophy finds expression in his poems. The Georgian literary critic and poet, Shota Iatashvili has said: »One can randomly open ›Schizosociety‹ at any page and find an inspiring quotation – an influential social message, slogan, motto – as the best sample of intertextuality; as an innovative, highly unusual product born between poetic and mathematic logics.« Shamugia’s poems have been translated into English, Russian, French, Turkish and German, such as in the anthology of Georgian poetry, published in 2015 under the title »Ich aber will dem Kaukasos zu …« (tr. But I wish to ravel to the Caucasus…).

Voted »Person of the Year« in 2012 by the culture magazine »Hot Chocolate«, Paata Shamugia has been a member and web editor of the Georgian PEN Center since 2011. He also works as an editor and critic for the journal »Liberali« and as editor-in-chief of the art portal demo.ge. Shamugia live in Tbilisi.