Anastasia Nikitina, organizational director at “Kyivbookfest”
I want to tell about Maksym "Dali" Kryvtsov, whom my Daryna and I will always remember. Dali was the favorite mentor of all children — without exception — of the "Spotted Raccoons" camp. He took a lot of pictures of camp adventures, and also read books to children. I heard the beginning of this story when I once tried to read something and each time more and more children gathered. They sat around him like ducklings.
And once in the winter, already during local ski trips, he treated the children to pancakes he had made himself and played board games with the children. He smiled at everyone. He had a big heart, a lot of light and boundless love, which children felt and gave to each other.
A little over a year ago Dali sent us his poems for editing. We really wanted it to be more than just a collection of poems. These are his thoughts, poems, photos, voice in notes, his ideas about a blank page for your notes, a fragment written in his handwriting. He was so looking forward to this book and was so happy for its appearance.
The book was released on December 22. On this day, the children went to the "Spotted Raccoon". And already in the morning Dali met the children in the camp. It was a surprise for the children, everyone was happy. Two days of vacation among friends in a place of strength, where he is always waiting. It was here that Dali first read his poems to children.
I once dreamed of you in the Carpathian chaos. When I told [you] the dream, you joked that we should have a coffee in the mountains.
I baked a cake last year, and you thanked me. And I was uncomfortable that there were many of you and not enough cake, so I promised to bake and give you two next time, but there wonʼt be а next time.
You have been waiting so long for your book. I offered to make a meeting with you in Ternopil.
"I donʼt want presentations," you answered.
And I hoped that you would change your mind.
You once said that you like cats more than dogs. And you really want a cat. And you got a cat. And your book was published. My entire FB [Facebook] feed is now your book, Maksym Kryvtsov.
Maksym spread so much light and warmth. Always turned the soul inside out with his texts. He dreamed of the anthology, he published it, but did not have time to present it properly. Loved ginger cats and "Chervonyi Mak" ["Red Poppy"] candies.
"[He] smiled more often
I wish someone would call and tell me it wasnʼt true, but three calls this evening ended in silence after the phrase: "Maria, Maksym is... dead."
I want Maksym to write a quick "Thank you" tomorrow, because I finally shared his anthology on the "Babylonʼ13" page. As I promised. Because I put it on hold for a few days, and he... He wanted so much his anthology to be read.
Maksym was worried that bloggers werenʼt responding to him, that people werenʼt buying his anthology. And he asked everyone to get involved and spread information about it.
I received my copy on Friday. I even joked that I should have time to sign. I didnʼt have time anymore.
We lost a very strong person, a strong citizen. We have lost a very strong poet. And above all, I would like the memory of Maksym to live on, for Daliʼs poems to continue to be read.
He was my sonʼs mentor and friend. "The kindest of all." Actually, thatʼs how we met: Maksym sent me some photos from the childrenʼs camp, then wrote various things about my child. There was so much warmth in this. Now Iʼm re-reading different things (oh, God, "[he] was online 9 hours ago") and Iʼm suffocating.
"Tell Andriy that in order to take a good picture, he should take a photo of..." (2020).
Today I saw how my sonʼs face changed. Although we whispered. Unfortunately, I already saw a comment of his [Maksymʼs] mother under his last post. So yes, Iʼm sure. But I still donʼt know how to accept this death as well.
Maksym was so much talented. With what ease and joy I recommended him to everyone as a poet. About a week ago, I received from him his newly published book of poems, which he was so proud of. At the stage of the manuscript, he consulted with me about the selection of poems, and about the structure of the anthology, and about all the little things. I was really happy to write a review for the cover, because I really love his poems. After receiving the book, I just put it on the shelf. I thought that I would read it a little later and see how everything turned out in the end. The thought that this book of his, which he had so dreamed of, was finally published, but he did not have time to enjoy it properly, makes me want to cry out.
"I think — when I have [free] time — to make a presentation for children, and to have my poems read by children from the camp. I got away for a day at the ʼRaccoon Spotʼ and held the first presentation for children there. I read these difficult poems about death for them. And the children were very interested and grateful. But I donʼt know when I will do it [again]..." (he wrote to me a week ago).
Maksym was 33 years old! He had to give many more presentations and perform on different stages, read for children and adults, cook his wonderful cheesecakes and take pictures of the beauty of nature and human faces.
Our first meeting with Maksym was in the forest. We drank tea, walked and took pictures. In the evening [we] ate falafel. [We] started to be friends.
He was proud that he figured out the meaning of the words from Kurganʼs song "Lyubopytsvo" ["Curiosity"]. Because the singing of dolphins is similar to the creak of old boards in the floor.
I remember once we gathered for a concert "Pyryatyn". I was driving after work, tired and exhausted. Before the bandʼs performance, Dali sat me down in the middle of the street, took out a bag of pasta and vegan meatballs from his backpack. People were looking at us, and he just wanted to feed me.
We often exchanged books.
He taught me how to cook incredibly delicious lentil patties, cookies and shared a recipe for Easter cakes that I baked a year before the full-scale invasion.
[He was] my faithful companion on the theater visits.
Once, after the performance, we went to Podil, where he showed me "Avtostantsia Pizza" ["Pizza Bus Station"] with incredibly tasty pizza with chicken Kyiv.
I could always talk to him and be silent.
I will miss you, my dear friend.
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