SmallStations - Tsvetanka Elenkova

This book gathers the fourth and fifth books – Secession and Flesh of Leviathan – in Chus Pato’s pentalogy Decrúa. Her poetry is highly erudite and concentrated-experimental. Important themes for Pato are politics, language, gender and nation. But she also writes about migration and marginalization, about the nomads we all are. She emphasizes the image of the spirit staying at the edge of the abyss and sees not the end but green fields. An absence in which wonder finds a voice. A central figure in contemporary poetry and one of the most iconoclastic figures in Galician and European literature, Chus Pato’s book m-Talá broke the poetic mould when it was first published in 2000. Hordes of Writing, the third text in her pentalogy, was awarded the Spanish Critics’ Prize for Galician Poetry and the Losada Diéguez Prize for Literary Creation. Secession was chosen as the Book of the Year by the Revista das Letras, the literary supplement of the newspaper Galicia Hoxe.

Gökçenur Ç. was born and lives in Istanbul. He graduated from Istanbul Technical University and has an MBA from Istanbul University. In 1990 he started publishing poems in different literary magazines. He is the author of six poetry books. He also translates American and Balkan poetry. He has participated in many workshops and literary festivals in Europe, Asia and America. His poetry has been translated into 24 languages. He is the prime mover and co-director of the project Word Express (www.word-express.org) and also a member of the editorial board of the international literary magazine Blesok, based in Macedonia. His poetry is not only the careful selection of words and images, but also a fertile field on which he interprets the present and the future with a cinematic approach.

Bulgarian readers already know Manuel Rivas from three books published in Bulgarian: his novels, The Carpenter’s Pencil and In the Wilderness, and his collection of short stories, Vermeer’s Milkmaid. This is the first time his poetry has appeared, including selected poems from his first five poetry books and the whole of The Disappearance of Snow. The style of Rivas’ poetry, like that of his fiction, is magical, intriguing and up-to-date. His talent as a journalist makes him appealing even when he talks about past events. His metaphorical expression, dense and surrealistic, doesn’t differentiate between poetry and prose. In his poetry he deals with unexpected comparisons, which topple over one another, borrowing images from far and close, like the Classical and Baroque architecture of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Manuel Rivas builds up the structure of his works with clear, plain writing, showing modesty towards God and the environment.

Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885) is considered the founder of modern Galician literature. She wrote three major books of poetry: two in Galician, Galician Songs and New Leaves, and one in Spanish, On the Banks of the Sar. Nourished by the popular songs the author heard around her, Galician Songs was first published in 1863 and dedicated on 17 May, the date that a hundred years later, in 1963, would become Galician Literature Day. In her poetry, there is a little from all the world and a lot from Galicia. There are brides who mourn for their bridegrooms, gone abroad to become workers; there is unrequited love, lamented by both maidens and bachelors; there is sorrow for the abandoned homeland and sorrow for the homeland that is shared, equal to God’s blessing in its fertility. Without being religious, this poetry is rich in spirituality from the Holy Scriptures, from the scriptures of our ancestors. Without being balladic or dramatic, there are places where the text speaks with the voice of Shakespeare or with that of the Bulgarian classics Slaveykov and Bagriana.

Lois Pereiro is the most charismatic Galician poet. A rebel and follower of the surrealist movement, he died at the same age as Christ as a result of accidental poisoning, a drug addiction and Aids. He left behind three poetry books, the first of them published posthumously. His work is filled with fantastic visions, with faith in resurrection in and through the other, and with life and poetry in “tonality”. He sends a message to us of anger towards a brutal world in comparison with the image of a flower and a revival for a new beginning.

An anthology of sixty poems in Bulgarian translation. The American writer Raymond Carver had a difficult life but managed to find peace in the end. These sixty poems chart his journey from drunken beginnings to the realization that someone was waiting for him and happiness can be found in the simplest moments, for example watching the newspaper boy and his friend walk up the road in the early morning. The author comes out of himself to view himself from the outside and then to break in: “I bashed that beautiful window and stepped back in”. This is a book that is never without humour and modesty, the lessons of years.

In this book of nine essays written in Bulgarian and accompanied by colour photographs, the poet and critic Tsvetanka Elenkova travels from her native Bulgaria to Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia and England. Along the way, she shares her impressions of Athens, Delphi and the Dodecanese, of Alanya, of Kas and Megisti, where Turkey and Greece come face to face, of Lake Ohrid, the deepest in the Balkans, and Struga in Macedonia, famous for its poetry evenings, of the Serbian monasteries of Frushka Gora and finally of England, where she visits London, Chichester, Oxford and Portsmouth. In this book, the author connects legend with what she sees, a Balkan thread that ends up unexpectedly in England.