by Tomaž Šalamun, translated by Sonja Kravanja
hardcover / 112 p. / Poetry
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This volume is gracefully unified by its commitment to enjambment as a way of rendering familiar narratives suddenly and wonderfully strange. As the book unfolds, the work is increasingly inhabited by silence, which amplifies the surreal and often disconcerting moments in each intricately imagined dreamscape. Šalamun provocatively places the line in tension with the sentence, allowing suspense to accumulate and undermining expectations of narrative resolution. Šalamun’s poems are as subversive in their craft as they are in their thinking, and this translation preserves that originality of thought and expression. —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun (1941-2014) is hailed as one of the most prominent poets of his generation, renowned for his impact on the Eastern European avant-garde movement. He authored over forty collections of poetry in Slovenian and English, and this collection exemplifies the best of what he is known for in its experiments with surrealism, polyphony, and absurdism. It’s the world we know made completely anew, where “City buses / resemble / quiet polite / people.” Šalamun’s unique voice will linger on for years to come in the influence it has left with artists, writers, and readers.
with his shoulder,
in the air
unknowingly. With his senses
he swings the tray’s
himself as glitter, a net,
I saw you in a black sweater.
You were guzzling black golden wads of cotton.
Sonja Kravanja is the recipient of several translation grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, and she received the Columbia University Translation Center Merit Award and a Pushcart Prize for her translations of Tomaz Salamun. A native of Slovenia, she now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.