Taja Kramberger was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1970. She is a poet, translator, essayist and historical anthropologist. She has a PhD in historical anthropology from the University of Primorska. She is Editor-in-Chief of Monitor ISH-Review of Humanities and Social Sciences (2001-03), in 2004 retitled Monitor ZSA-Review for Historical, Social and Other Anthropologies (2004-10). Her first book of poems, Marzipan, was released in 1997, and she has since published eight further collections: The Sea Says in 1999; the German-language Counter-current in a collectors’ edition in 2002; in 2004, Mobilisations, in four languages; The Velvet Indigo in 2004; Everyday talks in 2006; Opus quinque dierum in 2009; a book of blackout poetry from the constitution of the Republic of Slovenia; and in 2011, From the Edge of a Cliff. Her work has been translated into several European languages.
SJF: Your work is concerned with a notion of the everyday, almost a bracketing of experience so that the poem might get into direct contact with ideas of emancipation in language. Is there then a fundamental reduction in scope that needs to take place first and foremost in your work?
TK: There's no total human experience, this is at least my perception. Experience can be particular, ascribed to the location, to the time, sometimes it is a part of fairly complicated and specific circumstances, which later – if a poem becomes popular and a piece of extended circular corpus of texts, i.e. when it comes to the de-contextualization – are rarely investigated, maybe only by the most studious poets and literary researchers. This context, which is lost by the time, is in my view crucial for the birth of a poem.
Accordingly, for a poem to take rise at all a definite loss is urgent (without a loss hardly anything comes out of any domain): a certain intensification of thought, a certain focus, a sharpening of the view, distillation of the real, a zooming of the fragment, you say »reduction of scope«. On this basis an inspiration or a poetic cognition jumps off to the poetic language. I think a poem always comes out of a process in which it happens. It was almost completely out of reach a few seconds ago, out of expectation and anticipation, but now you have it. So, poetic vision must have the power to put away instantly redundant strata (of real and mental), so some processes are definitely going on beyond our attainment. But I'm very interested in this particular openness to the daily life, to the quotidian sensitivity; the more alive in everyday life the more poetic, I would say.
In this openness, in this disposability to elevate daily material to another dimension I see big complementarity between doing art and anthropology. The order of poetic and analytic language might be different, but the cognition behind it might as well be closely related. I’m not the one who’s satisfied with simple binaries and antagonisms, I don’t think analytical thinking ruins poetry, I don’t think theory is disconnected from practice etc. I’m more Poundian in this sense – I love a presentation of human variety, un-dogmatic thinking, a protest against all sorts of petty tyrannies or coercions. So I’m searching for emancipatory potency in poetry which shows clear entanglement into specific social conditions and has a singular poetic response to them. Much less I care for the abstract poetic speculations with the pretension to universality. It might also be that today this lateral poetic gaze, this particularity of seeing things in context is by itself a form of universality. In short, everyday material for me is the best possible ingredient for literary and poetic explorations. The »quotidian« by its source is always already social, which is filtered by the individual. In consequence, highly singular and idiomatic poetic language – if it is fairly set up – has the largest quantity of social.
SJF: You have termed the kind of poetry you write and interested in as transformative, could you expand upon this notion?
TK: For me creativity is the key transformative force; it is a resistance to any form of entrapment and immobility. I’m persuaded that cardinal social changes belong to the register of cultural, imaginary and of mentality. They’re not a part of political, at least not in a narrow sense of policy (la politique not le politique), as this is only a superficial stratum of often selfishly and decoratively organized distribution of imaginary relations. Whoever has just a few tools for thinking society and analysing discourse can quickly recognize manipulative investments in the discourse, therefore also in the poetic language. But on the contrary in “real arts” and creative processes there’s a vital charge, which can be a trigger of social changes, it directs us to the action, as it reinstates a different tenet of elementary coordinates and entities, it introduces a new syntax between them. The result is: people feel liberated, they can breathe at last, new spaces are open for them and their possibilities.
Further I think the biggest transformative force is in those creative actions – be it artistic, scientific or else – which on the level of practical situation materialize life and intellectual cognitions. Among poets, in my opinion of course, there’re many who integrated life experience into poetry (among them Margarett Randall, Claribel Alegría, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Roque Dalton, Otto René Castillo, Mahmoud Darwish etc.), and those are the closest to my poetic vision. But in order to understand what social change is and react in this direction, you firstly have to admit that all changes in the world were done by the people, be it for positive or for negative. They’re a consequence of human will and efforts, sometimes of madness. A condition for remodelling a social pathology (and I think neoliberalism which submits various parts of social space only and uniformly to the logic of capital and quantification is a sort of social pathology) is a cognition that people are – individually and collectively – able to change the world for the better. When they know that, they can start developing their own transformative activities for the common good of local community, they can take into consideration the social dialectic, can reach the structural level of society. And a structural level is a revolutionary level, not in a sense of violence, but in a sense of immense social energy for changes. Men and women of the Enlightenment knew very well that every solid thought – I would add every solid verse, every strong poem – is eo ipso already a revolutionary act. However, to be a transformative poet, it is not enough to only talk about it, everybody can do that, it is in how you are implicated in your words and in the society; a transformative poetry is a continuous series of these positions taken and words chosen. If you analyse usually un-reflected national literary canons (which protect an established status quo) from that angle, more than 90 per cent of established authors fall out. Different names come in the foreground.
Art and creativity are – if they are taken seriously and consequently – revolutionary per definitionem, as they reach for, they intervene with that structural-transformative level where old social conflicts are latent and petrified. Structures namely tend to have an appearance of impersonal and objective, but in fact they’re only naturalized; original interest of people who built them only petrified in them with the time, passions cooled, but are still inscribed in them.
Writing transformative literature or poetry (in the last decade I elaborated on analytical level a concept pair of transformative discourses, which allow changes, and transfirmative discourses which prevent social changes) is therefore a very hard task, as there are very clear social consequences to it. It implies an ultimate social responsibility and rigorous ethical measures, but it nevertheless through all the risk and ups and downs gives to the writers and poets an enormous joy and satisfaction, as – to cite a wonderful Guatemalan poet Otto René Castillo – it is splendid / to know yourself victorious / when all around you / it's all still so cold, / so dark.
SJF: There is a driving philosophy beneath your work then, one that engages the poetic, that is the language of the cognitive into the realm of comprehension. This, you have stated, is a space in which you cannot escape a certain revealing, where poetic language binds the signs of our communication. Is this underlying conceptuality visible in your method, directly so, or just subconsciously present in your approach to writing?
TK: I’m active in many social fields, poetic relation to the world might be my basic relationship, but actually it is in a complex interlacement of life and activities only one of my languages, with which I relate to the world. As an engaged person I try to translate and discharge my experiences into various creative and cognitive languages: poetic, essayistic, dramatic, figurative, analytic, polemic, of kid’s literature, theatrical or else. All are equally important to me.
There’s no one language (langage) in which you can say it all, we’re all divided into different channels of communication. Life itself for me is such a demanding and full engagement, that these translations are urgent procedures of reflexion, but paradoxically they’re a failure in advance, they can never convey everything in its complexity, they can only open a peek into the process. Maybe that’s why we’re incessantly trying to come as near as possible to this fullness with artistic means. There’s a certain beauty in this trying.
I get accustomed to the notion that a human value and critical thinking combined with reflection is more important to me than a success, which is only a lateral effect of work. It may come or it may not. Poets don’t impress me, however successful they may be, if I can’t see a certain ethos, human touch, humorous aspect and a differentiated opus behind them, based on personal courage and persistence sometimes lasting for years or decades. Art – the same as poetry – for me is much more than a sudden individual inspiration, it is distinctly and crucially embedded into the social tissue, into the dialogical, processual and transformative currents. »Forgive me, poetry«, says a Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton (1935–1975), »for helping you understand / that you’re not made of words alone«. If anything, I would adopt this into my ars poetica.
SJF: You have participated in the running of many workshops, often working with people outside of poets themselves. Do you hope to undertake some of this work at Poetry Parnassus?
TK: Indeed, I've agreed to lead a translation workshop for youngsters together with Valzhyna Mort from Belarus at Poetry Parnassus. I organized and directed quite a few workshops, be it of translation, creative writing or something else in connection to creativity. On the other hand I participated in some very inspiring workshops and literary collaborations abroad. In Trois-Rivières (Quebec) some years ago I had a wonderful experience with older people from old people's home, I conducted them in a process of writing a poem, very similarly – deeply touching as well – was last year in Chantilly in an old people’s home (in the house of Joffre, can you imagine!). Whilst in Amiens I was included in a group of poets that have read aux animaux crépusculaires (animals of the dawn) in the city Zoo in late night hours. That was incredible! We had spent a wonderful time together, and then a person present in the team suddenly said: »Wow, that was nothing. You don't know anything! Last year we've read to the fuckin' field of sugar beet! « I really should write an essay on that! It was ground breaking. These are absolutely unique encounters and infinitely funny experiences. After all, who can really say that an audience of people is more alive and perceptive (comprehensive) than an audience of sugar beet?
SJF: Could you explicate the mission behind the literary award KONS, that you founded with Tatjana Jamnik and Barbara Korun?
International Literary Award – KONS® was founded by three women poets, translators and essayists. The reason behind is that we had conceived after almost two decades of struggle for better conditions for artistic creation in Slovenia, after many public polemics with no real consequences for the better, after constant combat for a minimal public recognition of women writers, and after an incessant conflict with almost all male poets to gain a modest space to work in peace – that nothing would ever change in a narrow grip of clerical-patriarchal society if we don’t take some actions in our own hands. Slovenia is terminally closed in its circulus vitiosus. You must understand that most of the Slovenian male poets – the state-promoted ones the most – are so self-absorbed, so infantile, so solipsistic and provincial that they think the rest of the world would simply swallow the bait of their detractions (of their female colleagues) and submit. Well, I tend to think that there are also some smart and serious male and female poets – and generally people – in the world. Don’t you?
It is not lattermost that we had a lot of fun with KONS®, there’s a lot of amusement and good spirit in putting this idea into practice. We meet interesting people, talented artists, we have to communicate broadly… Besides the award is a private initiative, no lobby can interfere with the committee of selection, we shut the doors of Slovenian literary clientele. We are not dependent on them in any form, though at the same time we have rather precise regulations of how to operate. We three, the owners of the award, are the only subjects who decide to whom the award will be given (apart of the international consultative council), when it will be given and where it will be given – if at all. This might sound a bit surprizing, but we thought it over and debated it consistently. We’re not interested in the big spectacles and mass media, but above all in the strong literature – poetry, solidary poetic community and in human factor. Well, it seems that KONS® is a diverting and open reply of three women poets to the very sharp circumstances in the literary scene in Slovenia: its intention is to gradually stem, even stop the dehumanization, concealment and degradation of Slovenian women poets in Slovenia and abroad.
In addition, International Literary Award – KONS® is a literary accolade presented to exceptional literary authors (women and men), first of all poets, from different countries around the world whose lifelong stance, work and engagement have fostered social change, as well as contributed toward better conditions for artistic creativity. The name KONS (acronym for »construction«) is taken from a series of poems by renowned Slovene poet Srečko Kosovel (1904–1926), which epitomises the perpetual need for social change, criticism, and constructivism (some of his poems were not publicly released until 1967!).
TK: Your work has taken you across mediums, and you have been especially active in the theatre. Though it is limiting to do so, how you sought after the poetic in your work in this medium? Could you detail your latest work?
Federico Fellini used to write and draw down his dreams and later use this material in his films. When his friend, an Italian writer Alberto Moravia, once asked him: »I wonder why you dreamt such a dream? Fellini replied: »The movies wanted me to«. So, to the question how I came to the theatre medium and why, I would say, poetry, which I write, read and translate, wanted me to.
A theatre which I do together with my ex-students, assistants – some of them became friends through the work we do together – and other friends is not a simple or ordinary theatre. It is rather an unconventional theatre, a community building theatre. I would name it experimental theatre of memory (as a form of struggle against the oblivion, as a collective force against mechanisms of social amnesia). Its central axes are stimulation, firstly, of artistic and intellectual creativity of all participants in sharing collective, secondly, of their subjectivation and emancipation which hopefully lead to sovereignty, and, thirdly, of social sensibility through different performances and performative actions.
With Sabina Šabić, my co-producer, we share this already mentioned social concern and certain sensitivity in the way of seeing things and events. We build a specific mental and artistic (theatrical) landscape, connected to our personal and collective experiences. Preferentially we lean on acquisitions of Middle and South-American theatres (among them Teatro del Pueblo, Teatro popular, workshops Poesía en Voz Alta, Teatro Comunitario), on Castillo Theatre in New York and Living Theatre (Joan Littlewood) from UK, on different applications of Action Theatre. Some strategies and instructions we took from the history of political theatre, then from Jerzy Grotowski, Jacques Rancière, anthropological books, and last but not least from very classical tradition, in which the relationship and bond between memory and theatre is a very old one (I specialized anthropology of memory long before I came to work in the frames of theatre). Theatre is a very old location where democratization of knowledge takes place, it is a place of the transfer and dissemination of knowledge (about that good old book of Frances A. Yates is written: The Art of Memory, 1966; an author on theatre and memory is Marvin Carlson etc.).
As we are amateurs (from different cultural, artistic and intellectual strata) and do not want to belong to any of school of established theatre groups in Slovenia (Sabina and I were both involved in theatre during our secondary school years), we work a lot on acting, improvisations, on comprehension that acting is neither empathy nor a mirror of daily movements, we are learning how to insert distances between characters when needed and remove them when needed. Further, we work on gestures, movements, melodiousness, rhythm, on horizontal solidarity and bonding of all members in team. We debate a lot about unconscious and cognitive aspects of acting and script, about socio-historical contexts of figures in the play. But we try to leave a lot of space on individual development, on processes which take time.
In a very special way we – my students and me – transposed seminar work from the university classroom to the theatre stage, to the new frames, in which it revived (In fact, that happened in 2011 after the university purge of critical employees in 2010 at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Koper, when some of the university cadres who have been illegally dismissed resisted, gain retributions the at the court, and go on with our intellectual and artistic explorations in different ways. More on purge is to be found here). At the same time the theatre is only one of the activities of the collective
G.R.I.T.O., which in fact is a community building organization, it is a small island encircled by the sharks of neoliberalism. So, we’re a small creative unit which tries to be alive and creative in a very depressive milieu. This experience is fundamental for all; it is still in a process, but indelible for all participants.
Our play »Si se calla el cantor/If the singer is silenced« (the title is an hommage to the song of Horatio Guarany & Mercedes Sosa from 1972, which we rearranged and adapted to the specific Slovenian context) contains dance, playing parts (an adaptation of a short text of Karl Kraus on the terrible repression of Austrian – then of course Habsburgian – composers and musicians, on renunciation and devaluation of anything that was free and creative in Central Europe from the middle 19th Century on, this fragment is further supplemented with my text and dramaturgy), poetry of resistance from different countries, translated and inserted into play, and music (mostly taken from Latin-American countries, translated and rearranged). The play, which we intensively work on (I strongly believe I have incredibly talented young people around me), is attributed to all the independent people, no matter of their social status, who struggle for their rights, who don’t just simply submit or give up confronted with oppressions, intrigues and state terror. In autumn 2012 we plan to have a first performance, then maybe some guest appearances abroad, but this is still open. For us, more precisely, for me, it is a beginning or a reanimation of theatrical exploration, which with its all various and brisk artistic languages gives me immense pleasure. I feel theatre is in a particular way my homeland – as poetry is.
SJF: The city of Ljubljana is a uniquely beautiful, compacted, composed - seemingly literary - place. How does the specific nature of the city, its geography, its culture, play a part in your more recent poetry, if at all?
TK: I can only be glad that you have such an experience with Ljubljana – I, too, had spent an amusing afternoon in Wolverhampton some ten years ago, still guard it in my memory with joy –, though my Ljubljana’s experience is rather different than yours.
Firstly, Ljubljana might be, namely, it is an utterly funny and also reasonably in pleasing provincial town (of 250.000 inhabitants), architecturally very similar to Graz or Klagenfurt in Austria, no doubt about it. Some visitors can also find some uniqueness to it, as you did, though Ljubljana is a very typical provincial Habsburgian town. But all that surface handsomeness is valid if you have an opportunity to look at the city as a touristic destination, as a weekend-resort, a place to relax. However, if you happen to live there, if you know its grotesque petit bourgeois social network, its mafia style clienteles and elites, if you experienced its exclusive fustiness, its indiscrete knottiness, its inert and blood-sucking mental, anti-intellectual and institutional stasis, I believe, you wouldn’t even think to come and have a drink there anymore. Bu that’s how it is, we all live on account of such illusions.
To me Ljubljana is unsupportable to live in, to create in. Srečko Kosovel, a poet already mentioned, has a nice little poem inventorying torpid atmosphere in Ljubljana’s habitus so specific to the city. The poem is »Ljubljana is Sleeping« (in: Srečko Kosovel, The Golden Boat, tr. by Bert Pribac and David Brooks with assistance of Teja Brooks Pribac, Salt Publishing, Cambridge, 2008, p. 101; an essay on Kosovel and some translations by David Brooks are to be found in Salt Magazine).
Fran Milčinski (1867–1932), a Slovenian writer from the early 20th Century, captured beautifully characters of such a provincial city in his humorous sketches entitled Butalci (translation would be something like Blockheads or even Flockheads). Today’s Ljubljana’s Flockheads are amazingly not much different from those described in the book of Milčinski, only numerically superior, and still eminently represent a country as the hopeless limbo of sly usurpers and pilferers. Provincialism, as defined by Ezra Pound in one of his essays, is more than just ignorance, it is ignorance plus a lust after uniformity.
Still I say, welcome to Ljubljana, don’t let my sharp naturalism frighten you!
Secondly, I might see Ljubljana with such outer eyes – as you – someday, perhaps when I’ll have a chance to come to Slovenia on vacations. Yet today I can’t. I’ve experienced there to many lynching, intrigues and persecutions. Even today – I moved to the seaside town of Koper/Capodistria seven years ago (I was invited together with my husband to help building university infrastructure, and we did that, we wrote 12 courses of historical anthropology from undergraduate to PhD level, helped with many other things; today the invitation seems absurd, as later I was rudely dismissed by the same people) – I can still observe applications of these same repulsive methods of exclusion when highly talented young people are in question. Young people who would like to raise their voices autonomously (not in the homogenized and accepted pseudo-critical spirit) in this »capital city«, but are refuted.
Thirdly, near the sea and Trieste (I like to go there and just walk, visit my childhood memory places, theatre, galleries, restaurants, bookshops…) I feel much better than in the centre of careerism. Old Venetian architecture, salt in the air, roaring of the sea, littoral and roman spirit – all this suits me. Strangely enough, I found – in most cases –students of local provenience much better and attentive than those from two biggest cities in Slovenia, Ljubljana or Maribor. They’re somehow not that self-conceited and hopelessly initiated to rigmarole that assures them social positions. They would grasped lucid thinking of English, French or Italian tradition, even the concepts much quicker than their philistine colleagues from the centre, they would not be such mediators of power and not that focused on vertical climbing, but would start thinking critically almost immediately – if they had a good subject. But I still somewhat miss the redemptive freedom and anonymity of big cities. For that I have Paris from time to time.
SJF: You live in Koper, near Trieste, the birthplace of Tomaz Salamun and that coast has such a literary history, and one of great melancholic power. Saba, Svevo, Bartol, Pahor, Joyce – has this affected your recent work?
TK: I was born in Ljubljana, but spent most of my formative childhood years – from years 4 to 10 – in 70s of the 20th Century in Koper. Thus I have my places of memory spread from Koper’s squares till Via Carducci and Molo Audace in Trieste. These are on the level of personal history various corners, old houses and palaces in the centre of Koper, smells of narrow Mediterranean streets, fields and fruit plantations in the outskirts of Koper, where I lived and used to go with the bike, consecrated parts of the coast, vineyards, voices of some people, who were then important for me, coordinates of my primary school, which doesn’t exist anymore, theatres in Koper and in Trieste, old swimming pool in Žusterna, frequently full of seaweed and jellyfish, etc. On the level of intellectual and literary inspiration I have different references. These are mostly connected to the places where the Enlightenment man and women met, held discussions and wrote books, or to the places where writers who were capable of integrating variety of affinities and cultural influences without unification or deformation in the equal and nonexclusive writing horizon. Among the first: Gian Rinaldo Carli (1720–1795), an erudite and one of the most celebrated man of the Italian Enlightenment (l’illuminismo), was from Koper. He was a friend of Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770), who lived nearby in Piran. He frequently visited the most important illuminati in Italy (Pietro Verro, Cesare Beccaria, Paolo Frisi etc.). Among the second: I respect greatly life commitments and literary opus by Fulvio Tomizza (1935–1999), an Istrian writer, who was accentually anti-nationalistic, studious, and desperately tried to elevate the Istrian unique spirit(s) and complex history of multicultural and multilingual heritages (Italian, Croat, Slovene and many mixed dialects).
I live on the first floor of a gothic house, which by the legend belonged to the family Carpaccio. Although it can only be proved that in the house Vittore’s son Benedetto lived (both were painters), you can imagine the condensed inspiration that such place offers to the inhabitants. The fact is that – regarded historically – the cultural capital of Koper as an old Venetian city of intellectuals and aristocracy is quite high. It is rather sad that it is overlooked by the continental Slovenia just because the carriers of culture »were not Slovenians«. Ethnocentrism has done much harm to these places.
Of the others that you have enumerated I love Umberto Saba. His poems offer visitors of Trieste a wonderful Triestine itinerary. I’ve translated some of his poems some years ago and read them in Trieste. Beside of known stories of Svevo and Joyce, you might not know that a young Sigmund Freud has in 1876 researched anatomy and sexual organs of eels in Trieste. The correspondence with his friend Silberstein from Vienna in this year is full of funny observation of the city, Italian ladies, and especially of a small coast town Muggia … During the twenties Trieste was a focal point of the hetero-cultural avant-garde movement, where Italian, Slovene, Croat and some Austrian artists worked together. It is a pity that up to now no art historian from Slovenia or somewhere else was intellectually strong enough to pertinently show this artistic fermentation and expose how many Slovenophone artists were actually of the European format and completely integrated into contemporary international avant-garde currents (namely Avgust and Thea Černigoj, Ferdo Delak, Edvard Stepančič, Ivan Čargo, Lojze-Luiggi Spazzapan, Giogio Carmelich, Veno Pilon and others).
As for Vladimir Bartol (1903–1967): he is my delicacy. I’ve analysed Slovenian literary field between two world wars, its inner relations and in a wider European context (some part of this research was included in my PhD). I went through all the Bartol’s legacy publicly available (more than 2600 units of correspondence, diaries, outlines, photos, synopses, typescripts etc.), so I think I know his opus, his life trajectories and his social network relatively well. I also studied European trends, foreign literary journals in his literary most prolific years (during the thirties). I think he is in many ways an absolute milestone of Slovenian literature of 20th Century. Slovenes haven’t got any bigger in modern literature figure till now. They may prefer more sentimental figures, more politically involved and nationally constitutive scribes, more internationally successful and efficient poets etc., but Vladimir Bartol is a writer par excellence, he is – as Kosovel is – a great and strong transformative writer. Something completely else is how he was suppressed, tricked and degraded by his petty Slovene literary fellows (especially after WW2 when some of his worst enemies came to the top of the Yugoslavian politics). He was the first one to translate Freud and Nietzsche into Slovenian language (early 30s), he tried to establish a coherent theatre and literary criticism. He studied biology, psychology and was a rather excellent lepidopterist (connoisseur of butterflies). For 12 years he helped his friend Janez Žagar patiently and attentively editing a very important and singular literary journal, plus a book edition Modra ptica/Blue Bird (1929–1941; an example of the journal: vol. IV, no. 7, 1932/1933). He was able to produce different discourses (surrounded by the totally undifferentiated ambience). His language is clear, lucid and reflected, he follows European literature easily, and his preparations for the novel Alamut (1938) were totally unique in Slovenian literature: in 1927 he prescribed himself 10 years for the explorations of the historical and social aspects of the sect od Assassins and for research of the broader Persian and Arab history, and he respected it, he had read a vast production on the topic in German, Italian, French and English, and in the last year he wrote a novel. No wonder he was completely misunderstood (no other writer has ever studied so much for his literary project in Slovenia). And – more oddly – he still is misunderstood; his late adoption into the literary canon was and still is mostly per negationem. Slovenes prefer petty writers they can lean on easily, with not much effort. For a small provincial city as Ljubljana was before WW2 (around 80.000 inhabitants) he was a multiple and unforgivable transgression. He represented a public enemy. As such he was terribly manipulated and intrigued. But, you know, works of strong transformative writers are indestructible, they're impenetrable for weak and arrogant critics. They open such vast spaces and possibilities that all old measuring tools and abuses fail. That's the beauty of art.
By all means, the pattern of reaching success with intrigues is still very operative in Slovenia. I respect every single one who steps out of the flock, takes his/her risk and responsibility, and quits with this worthless strategy. I like to work and socialize with Iztok Osojnik, I appreciate his poetry and his multiple engagements. I love the late poetry and some recent social actions of Barbara Korun. Mateja Bizjak Petit and Tatjana Jamnik are also very valuable members of the poetic and artistic resistance, both are poets, hard workers and translators; the first is living in France, the second in Poland. Everyone who resists cultural-ideological machinery and bravely persists in his/her route is precious. If there’s no other possibility but one, »man bursts from the homunculus, a thousand times more horrible«, warned us Srečko Kosovel (»KONS–Tiger«, in: Srečko Kosovel, The Golden Boat …, p. 84).
SJ Fowler (1983) is the author of four poetry collections. He has had poetry commissioned by the Tate Britain and the London Sinfonietta, and has featured in over 100 poetry publications. He is poetry editor of 3am magazine, Lyrikline and the Maintenant interview series.