A scattering of snapshots, ancient and dusty,

Where we are young, old-fashioned, and stylish,

No bellies, no wrinkles.

Where blue fountains flow,

Beautiful plans are drawn in a whim,

Laughter splashes without reason.

Sergey Khazanov.

His performance on the stage of our Russian house was planned in the spring, but everything was postponed for reasons beyond our control. The anticipation was so exciting.

He flew to Brussels from Switzerland by plane. We agreed to meet near the metro. I recognized him immediately: there is something about him from the Soviet intelligentsia, kind and bright. The word “intelligent” cannot be translated into any other language. It is, as it is fashionable to say now, a combination of external and internal qualities. An intelligent person is felt on a subconscious level.”

Sergey first inspected the hall. What he saw delighted him: ‘Just like in the good old traditions,’ he commented on the setting.

Usually, the literary salon takes place in the mornings. The evening event is only happening for the second time. And, it must be said, the audience liked it. They even expressed indignation at such injustice: ‘We also want to attend the literary salon’…

Dear readers and regulars of the Russian House, starting from January, we will try to launch an evening Literary Salon in parallel. On Tuesdays. The first session will be dedicated to poetry. Learn verses and stay tuned for announcements.

So who is he: a writer or a mathematician? Sergey reminded us that many great individuals, both in the past and present, successfully combined poetic talent and a love for numbers. For instance, Omar Khayyam or the ‘universal man’ Aristotle.

And I return to November 23, the evening of the meeting with Sergey Khazanov.

It was an unusual performance. At the beginning, our guest shared a bit about himself, about how he came to creativity through mathematics, so to speak. He always wanted to write, but his family insisted on choosing a ‘breadwinning’ profession. Nevertheless, the urge for creativity prevailed.

Sergey writes in Russian, French, and English, is the author of 8 books of poetry and prose, and has received several international literary awards. In addition, he is a doctor of mathematics, having taught at Moscow State University, the Lausanne Polytechnic Institute, and the International School of Geneva.

His website Poematics can be found here.

In his performance ‘Poetry and Mathematics,’ Sergey explained the connection between poetry and mathematics, illustrating it with interactive solutions to logical problems. The audience actively participated in solving the proposed puzzles, with the greatest success achieved by the young participants of the evening: Platon and Yasha, our regular attendees.

A typical problem is the ‘Monty Hall problem.’

On the TV show: You must guess behind which of the three doors a big prize is hidden. Before opening the door you’ve chosen, the host opens one of the remaining two doors, revealing that it is empty. Which of the last two doors will you open?

Sergey interspersed the solution to logical problems with readings of his poems, which were warmly received by our audience. After the performance, the author answered a series of questions and signed his books.

The event smoothly transitioned to the exhibition hall, where Sergey continued to interact with the audience. A final photo for memory.

To doze in the heat, contemplating images

From the Book of Fates, or more precisely, a scroll,

Summing up – what with purpose and what in vain,

And wait for the gate to open…

Sergey Khazanov.