by Tomaž Šalamun
hardcover / 152 p. / Poetry
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Tomaž Šalamun was born in 1941 in Zagreb, Croatia and raised in Koper, Slovenia. He published more than fifty books of poetry in Slovenian during his lifetime, and he is not only recognized as a leading figure of the Slovenian poetic avant-garde but is also considered one of the leading contemporary poets of Central Europe. In 1996 he became the Slovenian Cultural Attaché in New York and lived in the US intermittently until his death in 2014. His honors include the Preseren Fund Prize, the Jenko Prize, Laurel Wreath, Poetry and People Prize, Njegoš Prize, Europäsche Prize, Pushcart Prize, a visiting Fulbright to Columbia University, and a fellowship to the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Besides teaching at several distinguished universities and having his work appear in over seventy journals and magazines internationally, he has had fifteen collections of poems published in English so far. All together, his poetry has been translated into over twenty languages around the world, numbering over eighty volumes. He leaves an expanding legacy with readers and especially with the many young poets who were influenced by his work.
His poems will continue to defy categorization, but they will be remembered for the way they walked the tightrope between ecstasy and despair, the rational and the irrational, the sublime and the horrible.
He is too slippery to be compared to anything . . . He is, as a poet, supremely clever, and then he is also intelligent enough to dampen this cleverness in the name of poetry when he feels like it. His work is elegant and ironic and often surreal and lined with dark laughter but it can also be sharp and forbidding. Nothing is lost on him.
Rational logic was the enemy of his poems, which ricocheted in every direction.
By turns brutal and coy, gnomic and blunt, the Slovenian poet . . . insistently dismembers the world, only to slyly recreate and celebrate it.
Šalamun has exerted a great deal of influence on many younger poets . . . . He's a world-class poet. He's easily the best poet of the Balkans, and one of the best of them all.