People like the author to speak about them, not about himself or herself

New media have opened up limitless opportunities for all those who dream of publicity and popularity. You can shoot a culinary blog, maintain a highly intellectual public, post car video records or a hundred of photos about how you spend your day.

Olesya Tsai from Tashkent chose another way – in the internet she is known as the author of small network genres of poetry. Many users of the Russian-speaking internet have at least once encountered her humorous creations named ‘pirozhki’ and ‘poroshki’. The editors of Converter have found out what these Russian haiku are like and why such four-line verses immediately become popular.


— Olesya, what is network micro poetry and what makes it different from the other varieties of the verse?

— Network micro poetry encompasses all the genres of short poems consisting of 1-4 lines. Nearly every genre has its rigid framework: unlike other poems, these genres have specific requirements for the format. The similarity of micro poetry to poetry is evident. We see the same search for ideas and the same attempt to escape banality. Inside the genre, there are the same maniac writers and the same geniuses. In both genres, poets make friends and inspire each other, just as in the other poetic communities. Everything is the same, only the scale is smaller.

One more thing: micro genres get spread faster, this is what makes them different. A micro genre always carries one thought, which is expressed vividly and uncommonly. People like poems to be shorter but more expressive.

— In which genres do you work and what subjects do you choose??

— Pirozhki, poroshki, impromptu, artichokes (art shocks). In these genres, politics and current events are not welcomed. Topical subjects are not really popular, either. If an author uses an image that is sure to influence the audience, like cats or borsch, we name this approach ‘chit’ (‘read’ ‘cheat?’). In our circle, we mostly appreciate poems in which something special becomes the subject without a social framework. Yet, it is the topical poems that become popular. I try to write about everything except politics and the current news.

— How can one find his/her reader?

— The point is in attraction; maybe, there are scientific explanations for that, but it looks mystical for me. There are all kinds of promotion, but I do not use them. I do not promote myself at all, although I know many methods how that could be done. Literature is not advertising. Here history writes the fate for each work of art.
— In your opinion, has the notion of popularity changed as the new media appeared?

— In my childhood and adolescence, I thought that popularity was the ultimate objective, the top of a hill, on which the happy demigod ascended in front of the masses of people. Maybe, that was so, and maybe, not. However, popularity in the world of new media is totally different from my assumptions. I have experienced a change of concepts by myself several times.

My personal popularity is related to the anger of those who use my creations ignoring me as the author. “Which author?! — they wonder. There are only four lines in it: art in the internet belongs to people”. There is no top of the hill, from which I look down on the enthusiastic crowd, and judging by many things, there won’t be any. Yet, it is good I started with the negative things. Then we speak about the good things.

— Yes, we can speak about the good things! So, you consider yourself popular?

— A popular person keeps facing the fact that his or her creations are known. You don’t know the person, and this person knows you. I am lucky: my photos do not appear, my creations have spread in the form of texts, and I can walk around unrecognized. Those faces are well-known have more difficult time, I think.

There is an expression “well-known in narrow circles”. And I say about myself, “narrowly known in wide circles”. My poems wander around in the net, and in most cases, they are not signed. It turns out that my poems are well-known, and I am not. People write and tell the others how they spend time reading my poems to their family members, sitting alone at night in the kitchen, reciting them to their loved ones in bed, print them out in calendars, and hang them on the walls of their apartments. Then they write ‘thank you’ to me. They read my poems to their moms, and they laugh. These are the main things, the key things. I often encounter my poems at websites, forums, in blogs, I hear them over the radio and even see them on city walls, the real city walls. What Googles does not show me is then sent to me by my colleagues: they see my poems, they hear them here and there. This is not the main thing, though. It is not the outer layer when you become known that is important. The most beautiful and valuable things occur differently.
Sometimes I read questionnaires filled by different people, not related to me at all, I click their pages then, and I see my pirozhok there in the status. This person chose it as the personal motto of his season! Or once Alexander Abramov, the producer of my favorite program “Let’s go and eat”, wrote to me and astonished me that he had read my poems and that he wanted to shoot an episode with me for his program. I also find myself in video blogs. Or I can hear myself performed by the voice of Nikolay Baskov. Yes, that looks like certain popularity.

— If it were not for social networks, do you think people would learn about your pirozhki and poroshki? Why do you think your creations hit the target?

— Several communities are working on special sites without social networks. There is a special community site. I learnt about pirozhki when I was not in the social networks. So, yes, there is such a probability. They could learn. A large part of my poems which people take away are accompanied by the comment “This is about me”. How can they leave it if it is about them? People like the author to speak about them, not about himself or herself.

— And what if they don’t? Some readers probably criticize.

— Critique works only tete-a-tete and only at request. In public, I have learnt to restrain my striving to criticize, unless I am asked to. After I saw how silly it was, I began to shup up in the situations when “I wanted to make the world better”. Unless I am asked “What I am doing wrong, please, advise me?”, I know it is better not to intrude with my comments and opinions, even if it seems to me that I will improve the situation this way. In the eyes of the surrounding people, I will look unhappy, queer, battered — even if I say everything correctly. So, I do not wish either to look or to be that kind of a person, therefore, I say ‘thank you’ my critics for such a lesson. By the way, in writing, it is not critics that helps an author to grow. What help us to grow is inspiration from a genius.

— And finally, some do’s and don’ts: how can one become popular in the internet?

— Judging by the popularity of others, I have made a conclusion that one should be perseverant in the desire to be popular. You will have to spend from 3 to 5 years, trying to hit the point. When I see any public person, I see how much effort he or she has invested in himself or herself. A persistent person will become popular, even he or she does not have any talents. Speaking about writing, I can say that, if you want to be popular, you will have to write much, very much, and then something will ‘shoot’. I have several thousand poems in all genres, but only several dozens of them have become popular.

Olesya Tsai

Olesya lives in Taschkent and works in the internet marketing sector. She is interested in poetry and micro poetry and a member of the seminar of young authors at the Uzbek author association. In 2017 she published her micro poetry book “Twenty Clamps”.





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