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Bucharest Tales April 19, 2010

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An Invasion of Penguins, a Pied Piper, and Ceausescu’s Daughter
A review in Transitions

10 August 2011

Robert Murray Davis

Bucharest Tales

A collection of East European Contemporary Writing.



New Europe Writers. Editors; Andrew Fincham, John a’Beckett, James G Coon

Previous New Europe Writers anthologies have focused on Warsaw, Budapest, and Prague, and, like Bucharest Tales, each chooses material by writers, native and otherwise, that “captures the vitality and variety of this dynamic place and time.” In this volume, while most of the writers are Romanian, a few are from elsewhere, and 15 are native speakers of English. Of those contributors who give their ages, most are 40 and over. Age is significant in this context because these writers were at or near adulthood when the Ceausescus fell, and one of the obvious questions about an anthology of this type is how heavily memories of the former regime and perceptions of the transition to imperfect democracy (redundant, of course) weigh upon the contents. Answers vary, of course, from what one might expect (mostly in the fiction) to less than one might fear (mostly in the poetry). It seems unreasonable to expect either the experience or the memory of a national trauma to fade in two decades. After all, William Faulkner wrote, and quite well, about the American Civil War more than 60 years after it ended, not to speak of Tolstoy and Napoleon.

Some of the liveliest stories in the collection use fantasy to explore the Romanian condition. In Florin Bican’s “Penguins” a crowd gathers around a huddle of the birds who have unaccountably appeared in the middle of Bucharest and wonders what they mean, who put them there, whether they are good to eat, whether they will overrun the city like “free-rangin’ dogs,” (politically more correct than “stray”), whether the authorities should be informed. In the event, nothing is done, and the story shifts to a future when “Those who can still remember Bucharest before the penguins (and a dwindling tribe they are), talk about a peaceful city with welcoming streets and friendly people. A city where you could go out whenever you pleased and were free to roam to your heart’s content.” Even the once ubiquitous graffiti, “FUCK THE PENGUINS,” has faded. Like good fantasy, this can be interpreted variously.

More pointed is Carmen Firan’s “The Farce,” in which a New Age healer conjures up the image of the long-toppled statue of Stalin in Palace Square, quelling a near-riot between opposing factions and causing general consternation. The illusion or miracle happens in a place in which “Freedom had come at a price as we all tried to imitate the Western World, including its clichés and alienation” and in which the illusionist can thrive because “Everyone was ready to believe anything.” Only the countryside, where inflation and corruption are more immediate problems, is unaffected.

Mike Ormsby’s “Democracy” describes, with only slight exaggeration, the kind of committee meeting that almost everyone has endured – the irrelevancies and digressions, the self-serving motions, the incomprehension about things that have been explained a dozen times, and the dismissal of obscene graffiti with “That’s democracy.”

James G. Coon’s “Cenotaph” is more like a Brothers Grimm tale than a short story. The burghers of the town of Barbu congratulate themselves on the success of their coffin-building industry – too great a success, since not enough people are dying in order to fill them. The solution is to declare every citizen a National Hero entitled to a coffin and a biography, paid for by the word, creating a society in which “every man, woman, and child … has an equal right to claim special privileges and receive Absolutely Nothing at Enormous Expense.” But a Pied Piper-like stranger arrives and nails to the symbolic Coffin his Hobby Horse Manifesto enjoining the populace to be free, enjoy themselves, and make hobby horses instead of coffins, ushering in “a great wave of creativity and optimism” that spreads over the former Warsaw Pact nations. But in a generic shift, the story enters the more or less real world as an editor finishes the manuscript and says that it is too ridiculous to print. The author, unrepentant, insists that “this new generation, marinated in a treacly slurry of processed advertising and homogenized multitasking and cocooned in a half-baked meringue of manufactured outrage, was itself desperately in need of a fresh injection of sheer lunacy.”

In several other stories, lunacy is hard to come by. In Helena Drysdale’s “Ana, Camil, Niculina, and Me” some old friends reunite after the transition. The narrator sees that her friends are far more prosperous and comfortable, but there is a kind of “regret for the closeness and intensity of the old days.” The couple’s daughter, moved to Berlin, is all but lost to them, and that is a common condition. “To be left in Romania was to be left behind.”  The father likens their condition to that of a broken rope: “you re-tie it, and there’s always a knot. The rope’s never the same again.”

That kind of break is at the center of Ormsby’s “Mother Tongue,” in which a husband and two children depart for America, leaving the wife behind, less and less able to communicate in Romanian with her children, exiled in the place of her birth. Saviana Stanescu’s “Stolen Taste” works from the opposite direction. A woman, returned to Bucharest with her American husband, has an unsettling encounter with a Gypsy who later steals her husband’s wallet and is locked inside a room in a shiny new bank. She remembers a childhood visit to a palm-reader who warned her “never trap anything or let yourself be trapped.” She releases the thief and realizes that “she’s got to get out too. Before she becomes one with the calm reliable civilized walls of her own perfect American dream trap.” Since Stanescu’s biographical sketch says that she was “ ‘reborn’ in New York,” there seems to be a disconnect somewhere.

Several of the less political pieces are more directly about Bucharest. Simona Popescu’s “Open Sesame” looks at the Lipscani historical quarter from the 1930s until the present, noting what has happened to the architecture and people of the district. In the 1950s, “the city began to be slaughtered”; in the hungry 1980s the area “buzzed with much activity,” though the stalls and goods had deteriorated sadly; in the 1990s, things were even worse. But after the millennium, “The streets had come back to life.” The author concludes that the area will continue to surprise and enchant her in its variety, so much so that she doesn’t care whether it is pretty or ugly. In Mircea Cartarescu’s poem “Where the Lemon Trees Bloom,” the speaker waits for a bus, observing cheerfully the variety of the life flowing around him before despairing of writing anything but “letters, dumb and useless” and then shifting mood again while reading a book about classical art and concluding “Bucharest is and is not.”

In this poem and a number of others, public transport figures not only as a way of getting around the city but of understanding more subtle interconnections, as in Bogdan Suceava’s “Can One Hear the Shape of a Drum?” in which “The whole Bucharest tramway network is like filigree on a huge drum,” resonating with the vibrations of everything and everyone else in the city.

Several stories and poems deal directly with the Communist regime. In “The Seacoasts of Bessarabia” and “Street Sweeper,” Jennifer Robertson presents men who have collaborated with the authorities and, after repenting, are demoted to menial jobs. Another British author, Nick Drake, writes of a disappeared vampire in “Ceausescu’s Daughter’s Bedroom.”

Wider-ranging and more generally cheerful or at least resigned is Suceava’s “A Journey Around the World,” in which Gaffer Gigi, who like many Romanians fought on both sides in World War II, outlasts eight lieutenants in two armies. He weaves his adventures in key battles and his later misfortunes into stories for the villagers, told “with a simplifying certitude and rooted in a life’s experience that would have traumatized any other mortal.” His chief complaint against the socialists was that they forced him to keep too many cows. After all his experience, he concludes that the most important thing he’s discovered is that “Czech women are the most beautiful.” A kind of Everyman, he has survived everything.

Not everyone in other pieces, particularly the poems, takes things this philosophically or for that matter politically. Sorrows, discontents, and personal failures are clearly but not specifically Romanian, a useful reminder that disappointment is part of the human condition. Perhaps this is the most important generalization that can be gleaned from an anthology whose individual pieces are more interesting than any abstractions that can be distilled from them.

Robert Murray Davis is an occasional contributor to Transitions. His most recent book is Born-Again Skeptic & Other Valedictions (Mongrel Empire Press, 2011).

Damian Kelleher Reviews Florin Bican’s story “Penguins” 

What’s them penguins doin’ here?  A little while ago there were no penguins in Bucharest, but now there are many. How they got there isn’t all that important because they are there, and they must be dealt with. A senior citizen offers that the “boffins at the city mall must’ve brought ’em”, which immediately compels the growing crowd to comment critically upon the reckless spending of the Government. First the palm trees, another citizen notes, and now penguins. What won’t they spend their money on!

Florin Bican’s Penguins is a satirical examination of the citizens that make up post-Communist Bucharest. They are presented as archetypal, to the extent where they are named “senior citizen”, “Gypsy”, “worker”, “Grandma”. They are not people but types, they offer not words or statements but commentary based upon their political and economic background. The story itself clusters around the penguins for its entirety; the penguins, on the other hand, do nothing, content to return the increasingly bewildered gaze of the citizens.

Bican’s penguins are an absurd interjection into an ordinary world. They are a destabilising force, their very presence allowing the swelling assembly of men and women to comment openly on the state of their society and economy, both as it stands presently and as it was. The penguins are in effect a stand-in for – whatever the people want. Most importantly, they allow commentary, criticism and the biting honesty of laughter.

Bican’s story reminds in terms of its effects Bulgakov’s masterpiece, The Master and Magherita. In that novel, Satan and his lackeys descend upon Moscow to cause havoc and run amok amongst the suffocating bureaucracy of the Soviet state. Bulgakov was able to project his criticism of the State through the obvious absurdity of Satan (and particularly the mischievous and malevolent cat, Behemoth) – essentially hiding in plain sight. Much in the way that nobody notices the magician’s tricks because they are too busy staring at the assistant’s bosom, which has conveniently fallen from the restrictive grasp of her too-tight bodice, Bulgakov was able to distract the censor’s through the use of clever imagery and sharp allegory instead of direct attacks (this brief summary avoids the fact that Bulgakov’s work was, in fact, heavily censored upon publication and was burned by the author himself at least once in fear of discovery and punishment. It also glosses over the important and rather excellent intertwining of mythology with cultural criticism, the technical aspects of the novel, and its startling aesthetic and literary beauty). To return to Bican, the penguins seem similar to Bulgakov’s fantasies because they have allowed him to bypass the necessary constructions required to engage in sophisticated social criticism. Instead, Bican is able to directly and immediately criticise the State, capitalism, communism, the wilfull ignorance of the peasantry and the avarice of the middle-class.

Penguins successfully combines laughter with criticism – the story is very funny. The characters are archetypes taken to their extremes, and they mutter exactly what one would expect, particularly the Gypsy, who defends his theory that they might be good to eat. One particularly memorable phrase has a woman walk off “…through the landscape with her immaculate breastplate of starched boobs.”

The story is narrated from the perspective of an intelligent, clear-eyed but unaffiliated observer, one who seems to sympathise with the intent of each person without succumbing to their cant. There are a few wry asides (mostly concerning crematoriums…), but the narrative as a whole stands on its intent to present the conflicting aspects of Bucharest in their most concentrated form. With the exception of the final two paragraphs, which serve as cutting reminders that change, no matter its form, provides conservatives a time to which they can look fondly back, and progressives with an ideology from which to create their opposition, the story is told entirely in present tense, which further enhances the effect of the closing lines. Penguins is clever and funny, and bold enough to make a story that purports to be about a number of penguins descending upon Bucharest, really about the people contained within and their reactions to unfamiliar circumstances, and the impossibility of pleasing every ideological group, no matter how similar or far apart their platforms.

Penguins by Florin Bican is a short story from Bucharest Tales from the New Europe Writers series

Bucharest Tales April 19, 2010

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Fleur Adcock (b. 1934, Auckland) studied Classics at Victoria University in Wellington and taught at the University of Otago. A prolific and award-winning poet, she visited Romania, leaned the language and found Grete Tartler’s poetry. Her latest collection is Dragon Talk (2010).

Elena Arma (b. Bucharest, 1987) has a degree in English and Spanish Philology and studies under Prof. Lidia Vianu. She has translated poems from English into Romanian for the online magazine Translation Café and for the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company.

Adam J. Sorkin won the 2005 Translation Prize of The Poetry Society (UK) for Marin Sorescu’s The Bridge, translated with Lidia Vianu. His recent books of translation include Ruxandra Cesereanu’s Crusader-Woman and Mariana Marin’s The Factory of the Past, translated with Daniela Hurezanu.

Alistair Ian Blyth (b. 1970, Sunderland) studied at Cambridge and Durham Universities. In 1999, after working as a teacher in Siberia, he settled in Bucharest where he now translates literary fiction and philosophy.

Andrew Elliott (b. 1961, Limavady, Co. Derry) lives in Manchester. He was the first recipient of the Allan Dowling Poetry Travelling Fellowship was selected to appear in Trio Poetry 4 (Blackstaff 1985).

Jean Harris (b. Manhattan) studied literature at Rutgers University. Her published works include The One-Eyed Doctor, and a novel, Diffidence. She lives in Bucharest where she writes for Observator Cultural, directs the Observer Translation Project whilst working on a Romanian memoir.

Constantina-Gabriela Moateru (b. 1988, Balş) studied at West Timişoara University specializing in English and French Language and Literature. She studies on the MA TCLT Programme at Bucharest University and collaborates with Radio Romania and The Bucharest National Theatre.

Alina-Olimpia Miron teaches English/French and is a certified translator. She graduated from Bucharest University where she earned an MA in literary translations. She also translated books for publishing houses and articles and poetry for various magazines.

Philip Orr (b. 1955, Belfast) was educated at the University of Ulster. He is currently chairman of the New Ireland Group.

Zenovia Popa (b. Calarasi, Romania, 1978) graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Bucharest. She works as a translator and interpreter and studies at the MTTLC, Bucharest University.

Constantin Roman (b. Romania) is a scientist and linguist, educated at the Bucharest University and at Cambridge. He has lived in France, Norway, Holland, and Indonesia. His home is London, where he contrives to indulge (albeit with limited success) in serendipity and esotericism.

Stefan Stoenescu was born in Bucharest during Ceaucescu’s dictatorship and ‘reborn’ in New York. He was an academic at Bucharest University, Faculty of Foreign Languages (164-1987) and requested political asylum in the U.S. in 1987

Lidia Vianu ( b.1947, Romania) is a poet, novelist, critic, and translator and Professor of Contemporary British Literature at Bucharest University. Winner of the 2005 Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation from the Poetry Society (UK), she edits the online review, Translation Café and Contemporary Literature Press. She is the Editor of the recent Tri-Lingual e-book “Povresti din Varsovia/Warsaw Tales/Powiesci Warszawie” published by CLP in collaboration with N.E.W.

Bucharest Tales April 19, 2010

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Christopher Bakken (b. 1967, Wisconsin) has authored two collections: Goat Funeral (2006) and After Greece (2001), for which he received the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize. A Fulbright Scholar (Bucharest University 2008). He is an Associate English Professor at Allegheny College, Pennsylvania.

Florin Bican (b. 1956, Bucharest) is a writer, translator and journalist. A native of Bucharest, he contrives to leave for long enough to appreciate the occasional homecoming. He chaperons those who come to Bucharest to understand, appreciate, and translate Romanian literature.

A. Bo (b. Dreamtime, Ukraine) recently surfaced on Closed Circuit TV, Medieval Flash, and No Tube. Influenced by James Joyce, Relative Caravanning, and Absolut Vodka, his scratchings can be peeled off unpublished Bach.

Mircea Cărtărescu (b. 1956, Bucharest) has published poetry, short stories, novels, and essays which have attracted both acclaim and contention.

Dan Mircea Cipariu (b. 1972, Bucharest) studied journalism at Bucharest University. A member of the Romanian Writers Union and poetry president of the Bucharest Writers’ Association, his book Tsunami received the Writers Asciaţiei Bucharest 2007.

Denisa Comanescu (b. 1954, Buzau, Romania) is a poet, translator, and editor, After Bucharest University she joined Univers Publishing. She won the 1979 Debut Prize of the Romanian Writers Union. Since 1990, she has been the Secretary of the Romanian PEN.

James G. Coon (b. 1950, Cincinnati, USA) is a founding editor of New Europe Writers. Currently a resident of Bangkok, he is a frequent visitor to that wondrous land located between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.

Traian T. Coșovei (b. 1954) patronised the Sadoveanu bookshop and developed an interest in Sartre, Camus, Baudelaire, and Faulkner. A free spirit and maverick, his poetry reflects that of Mariana Marin Cărtărescu Mircea Alexandru Muşina, Florin Andrei Iaru, or Bodiu.

Flavia Cosma (b. Romania) A Canadian poet with a Masters in electrical engineering, she then studied drama for two years. In Romania she worked in sound for radio and television and now as an independent producer/director/writer for TV documentaries.

Dan Danila (b. 1954, Şura Mică, Romania) is a poet, translator, and painter. Living in Leonberg, Germany since 1990, his poems, short stories, translations, and graphics have been published by leading literary magazines in Romania, Germany, Denmark, Canada and the U.S.

Nick Drake (b. 1961) is based in London. His The Man in the White Suit won the Forward Prize in 1999, and a novel Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead was published in 2006. He has recently adapted Petit’s To Reach the Clouds for the stage and wrote a screenplay for Romulus, My Father

Helena Drysdale (b. London) studied Art and History at Cambridge and worked at Walker Books before reviewing then editing contemporary art magazine Artscribe. Her works include Looking for George, Mother Tongues, Travels through Tribal Europe, and Strangerland.

Andrew Fincham (b. 1964, England) is a poet, editor and co-founder of New Europe Writers. His poetry has appeared in over a dozen anthologies. The bilingual Centre of Gravity (Ibis 2004) received the UNESCO / Poezja Dzisiaj award for foreign poetry in Poland.

Carmen Firan (b. Romania) has published twenty books of poetry, novels, essays, and short stories. Living in New York since 2000, her writings appear in translations in France, Israel, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Canada, UK, and the USA

JoAnne Growney grew up in Pennsylvania where the wooded mountains resemble those of Romania. A maths professor, she has published three collections of poems, including Red Has No Reason and co-translated George Bakovia, Ileana Malancioiu, and Nichita Stanescu.

Ioana Ieronim (b. 1947) is a poet, translator, and playwright. She authored Triumph of the Waterwitch, short-listed for the Sir Weidenfeld Prize, Oxford. Her collections in English include Omnivorous Syllables and The Lens of a Flame.

Igor Isakovski (b. 1970, Skopje, Macedonia) is a poet, prose writer, translator, and editor. He has studied Comparative Literature and Gender and Culture (CEU, Budapest, Hungary). He founded the Cultural Institution Blesok.

David Hill (b. England, 1971) lives in Washington and has published Angels and Astronauts, Bald Ambition, and Consumed. He edits the free poetry quarterly Lyriklife. An avid poetry performer, he founded The Budapest Bardroom.

Sándor Kányádi (b. 1929, Transylvania) has lived his life in Romania where he has endeavoured, through his work as writer, translator, and editor, to keep his language and culture alive amidst an often hostile environment. He is the recipient of many European literature awards.

Dan Lungu (b. 1969, Romania) is a writer, literary theorist and sociologist. His works include short stories Cheta la flegmă, the novels Raiul găinilor and Sînt o babă comunistă! A former editor in chief of the newspaper Timpul, now he lectures at the University of Iaşi.

Ion Munteanu (b. 1961, Mălăieşti village, Goieşti of Dolj) attended Bucharest University, and taught in Convasna until becoming a journalist in 1984. His works include Rivers in Flames, Confessions to a Silent Angel and In This Friendly Jungle. He presently lives in Craiova City.

Adrian Păunescu (1943-2010) was a Romanian poet, journalist, and politician. Though criticised for praising dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, he was called ‘Romania’s most famous poet’ in an Associated Press story quoted in the New York Times.

Simona Popescu (b.1965, Codlea, Braşov) Currently teaches contemporary Romanian literature and creative writing at Bucharest University. Author of many volumes of poetry, essays, and one novel. She coordinated a collective novel published as Rubik (2008).

Ioan Es. Pop (b. 1958, Vãrai, Romania) has a degree in Literature from Baia Mare University. In 1989, he was granted permission to move to Bucharest to worked as a building worker constructing the ‘House of the People.’ He lives in Bucharest editing Ziarul de duminică and Descoperă.

Constantin Preda (b. 1961, Damian, Romania) studied journalism at Bucharest University. A member of the Romanian Writers Union, he has edited The Word of Liberty, Gazeta de Sud, National, 7 Plus, and Meridian. He is a the literary and artistic director of Special Edition of Oltenia.

Mike Ormsby (b. 1959, Ormskirk, Merseyside, U.K.) is a writer, editor, and journalism trainer. Romanian literary critics have dubbed him ‘our British Caragiale.’.Based in Bucharest, he is the author of “Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania” published by Compania.

Ioana-Raluca Raducanu (b. 1981 Cluj Napaica) is currently an Advertising Art Director. A winner of awards in The Romanian Literary Contests, she has written a libretto for an opera called Harap-Alb, composed by Anamaria Meza.

Raluca Rodica Ratiu (b.1982 Arad, Romania 1982) studies Law in Italy. She writes poems in Italian, Romanian, and English and competes in national and international literary contests. In 2008 she was a guest at the Carribean Literary Festival and collaborates with Jamaican poets.

Ionel (Johnny) Riti (b. Transylvania, 1955) is a civil engineer from Brasov and graphic designer. His also authors epigrams and crossword squares.

Jennifer Robertson (b. The Orkneys, U.K.) has lived in Edinburgh, St Petersburg, Warsaw, and Barcelona. She has authored of 25 books, including poetry (Ghetto, Beyond the Border, Loss and Language) and prose (Don’t Go to Uncle’s Wedding – Voices of the Warsaw Ghetto).

Doina Ruşti grew up in Comoşteni, Romania. She has authored prize-winning novels, including The Little Red Man, Convorbiri literare, Zogru, and Fantoma din Moară.

Paul Sohar (b. Hungary) drifted as a young refugee to the US where he obtained a BA in philosophy and worked as a lab assistant. Translation helped him break into print, including Kenyon Rattle and Seneca Reviews, and Dancing Embers, Sandor Kanyadi in translation.

Saviana Stanescu (b. Bucharest) was born during Ceausescu’s dictatorship and ‘reborn’ in New York. Performed both in the US and internationally, her recent plays include: Aliens with extraordinary skills, Waxing West, and YokastaS Redux, (with Richard Schechner).

Bogdan Suceavă (b. 1969, Romania) is Associate Mathematics Professor at California State University. He writes short stories, including recently translated: Daddy Wants TV Saturday Night, Natural Bridge, Rubik Cube Story, and Grandpa Got Back to French.

Stelian Tanase (b. 1952, Bucharest, Romania) first novel The Luxury of Melancholy was published in 1982. Currently working as a television presenter, he teaches political science at the University of Bucharest. His novel, Maestro: A Melodrama, appeared this year, and he recently finished a new novel, Pavlov’s Dogs.

Grete Tartler (b. 1948, Romania) has published 12 volumes of poetry in Romanian and German, and much literature for children. She lives in Bucharest.

Lucian Dan Teodorovici (b. 1975) is the co-ordinator of Polirom’s ‘Ego. Prose’ series and edits Suplimentul de cultură. Former editor-in-chief at Jassy, he scripts the Animated Planet Show, and has written screenplays for the feature-length film adaptation of Our Circus Presents.

Călin Torsan was first discovered on the cover of a book of the Old Court, Small and Medium Business Stories. He has also been published in The Book of Waste, School of Martyrs, and the Recycle Right.

Ljubljana Tales March 24, 2013

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image001A review by Tom Cunliffe for A Common Reader

Ljubljana Tales is published by New Europe Writers, a publishing enterprise dedicated to exploring the literary connections between the various European states, with an emphasis on those countries which were formally behind the Iron Curtain.

They have published several volumes of “Tales” including Warsaw Tales (now available for free download), Budapest Tales, Prague Tales and Bucharest Tales. I like the idea of anthologies of books from a particular city, especially when it’s a city I know little about. Ljubljana is of course the capital of the former Yugoslavia nation of Slovenia. My son visited Ljubljana last year and keeps telling me what a an interesting city it is and this seems to be confirmed by its Wikipedia article.

Ljubljana Tales is a very nicely presented mix of poetry and short fiction in very accessible translations which all reflect the literary tradition of the city. Slovenia had it’s own “Spring” which began in 1987 when the magazine Nova Revija published articles demanding reform. We who live in nations with a more settled history find it difficult to understand the place that writing had in the revolutionary movements which led to the liberation of countries like Slovenia.

The range of pieces in Ljubljana Tales is very wide. About half the book consists of short poems, and the other half a mix of short fiction, never more than about half a dozen pages long. I counted 66 pieces in total and found that as they were so short it was easy to immerse myself in the literary community of Ljubjana for a couple of days by picking the book up at odd moments. In fact, some of the pieces would make useful accompaniments to a visit to the city. For example, Miha Pintarič’s The Cobblers Bridge makes fun of an old ritual that used to take place there:


Cobblers Bridge, Ljubljana

The happy cobblers used to lend
their bridge to bakers for a rite,

when those chastised, their ways to mend,

that is, the bites they sold too light,

were tucked into a tiny cage,
soaked in the river, there to gauge

whether their sin was well in line
with the taste of its waters fine.

Miroslave Košuta does a similar job for The Dragon Bridge

From the bridge of fog when it cursed the dragon,
From the bottom of the other world murmurs
On the old map four places. There, the Gorilla,

there are our borders., the ravens, guards,

dispersed the language . . .

By the way, dragons feature quite often in this book. One story describes the dragon bridge (which has a stone dragon on each corner) as the Kingdom of Dragonia. Other poems refer to dragons and the story, The Amphibrach by Ludwig Bauer posits the interesting theory that dragons were in fact a species of flying lizard, “which could have expelled gases from its body, from some form of pre-stomach, and these gases could have caught fire, puportedly without damaging the skeletonized lips of the alleged dragon”. These references to dragons are explained in the story, Not to Worry by Sebastijan Pregelj which tells readers that the dragon is actually the symbol of Ljubljana.


Tivoli Park, Ljubljana

In The Mobile Phone, Lili Potpara writes about Strecko a reclusive office worker whose colleagues give him a mobile phone for his birthday. He didn’t want a mobile phone and has no friends to call, but he takes the phone home and eventually receives a call from an unknown woman called Fani, who had called a wrong number. Fani calls again, and then again, and before long Strecko is wondering about this anonymous woman and hoping she will call again. He even takes the phone into the shower so that he will not miss it.

I enjoyed this story which shows how technology can both open doors but also lead to the rather addictive behaviour of endless checking for messages.

The short fiction is always thought provoking; little word-pictures or snapshots providing glimpses of life in the capital. I liked The Waiting Room by Jamnik Pocajt in which she goes into a railway station waiting room only to be stopped at the door by a very neatly dressed man who greets her with a torrent of angry words,

Can’t you see the floor has just been mopped! You can’t just walk in like this with your dirty shoes. You’ve dirtied this freshly washed floor!

The writer withdraws and watches the man through the window as he puts food away in some bags and shifts them back and forth from left to right, realising that, “of course, it’s his home! I stood there dumbfounded, moved by this man striving his utmost for a semblance of order – this was his struggle for human dignity . . . on the floor lay the wreckage of a life”.

Two stories feature uncles. I enjoyed Evald Flisar’s An Incident in Ljubljana in which his accident-prone Uncle Jaroslav Scheweik lives a life in Ljubljana which parodies Jaroslav Hasek’s comic novel The Good Soldier Svek with hilarious but in the end tragic results. In Uncle Dint and the Devil Oil gets diverted from a walking tour by his Uncle who takes him off to an hotel where they drink cocktails all day. A few glasses of Skubrl’s Icebreaker (local brandy with Kummel, Cointreau over iced mint) lead to a day of sparkling conversation and the inevitable inebriation.

I am not a great reader of poetry but I found the poems in Ljubljana Tales generally straightforward and accessible. It says a lot that I have read some of them several times. In a short article it would be impossible to highlight more than a very few, but I will just give brief snippets from three of the many that pleased me.

On A Sunday Night by Aleš Mustar

I hate Ljubljana on a Sunday night
as it turns into a giant tomb.
Ms Stanka and Pavla close the doors of their little inns as well,
on Sunday they only boil beef broth and sauté potatoes
for their immediate family members
and thus protect themselves from all harm.

At Morning’s Light by Ivo Frbežar

Clearly every day
is a new day;
clearly every day
hatches a new egg;
every day a new nest
for the new young.
It’s a new home
that a bird knits

When you are not with me in Tomai by Josip Osti

When you are not with me in Tomai I chisel you day and night
in the middle of the garden out of crystal clear
air of Karsi . . . From the memory of the eyes which have
looked at you, and of the hands which have caressed you
for a long time. . .

With over 60 items in this book I am barely scratching the surface in this review. I can only say that I found it a fascinating dip into the literature of contemporary Ljubljana, a place I would have known nothing about if I had not read “Tales”. I now feel that I would like to visit the city and explore its many features (see the official website). Ljubljana Tales is not currently available from Book Depository but can be bought at the bookshops listed under Where to buy on this site,, The Lost Bookshelf or from Amazon.

Ljubljana Tales October 10, 2012

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 John a’Beckett. (b. Melbourne, Australia, 1948) is a poet and radio playwright. He came to Poland in 1995 on a Potter Foundation Grant for The Melbourne Writers Theatre. A co-founder of New Europe Writers, he is the author of The Polish Year, and The High Country, published by CKZ.

 Alja Adam.  (b. 1976, Slovenia ) her poetry has been included in various Slovenian and international publications and translated into Italian, English, German, Croatian and Serbian. In 2003 she published a book of poems entitled Zaobljenost (Roundness). She often presents her poetry together with bother art forms: dance, video and electronic music. She has recently published a new book of poetry entitled Zakaj omenjati Ahila (Why Mention Achilles).

Marina Bahovec (b. 1946, Ljubljana) is a painter and freelance writer. She studied at the Philosophy Ljubljana University and the Accademia de Belle Arti in Venice. She has exhibited in Slovenia, Italy, England, and Indonesia. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, on radio, and in the daily press.

 Ludwig Bauer. B. 1941 in Sisak, Croatia. He received his B.A. in Slavic Studies from the University of Zagreb, and attended post-graduate studies in Prague. His work includes over 30 fiction titles in several languages.  Bauer’s children stories are compulsory reading for elementary schools in Croatia. For his anthology of the contemporary Slovak poetry – Crna violina (The Black Violine) – he received the highest Slovak award “Hviezdoslavova cena” (Hviezdoslav Prize) in Bratislava, Slovakia in 2010.

David Bedrač . Born in 1978, the Slovenian poet, essayist, and literary critic. He is author of poetry collections for adults Infinity (1998), Poetry piers (2001) and Songs from the windows (2006), and Centimeter World. And for children he issued a collection of songs, a poetic picture book house (2008), the collection Gugajčki and Gugaji. Leads literary workshops and camps across Slovenia Ptuj and a literary club. He has won first prize in the contest Liter (1999) and the winner of Ptuj Lamp (2007).

Andrej Blatnik. (b. 1963) works as an editor and teaches creative writing. So far he has published three novels, Plamenice in Solze (Torches and Tears, 1987), Tao ljubezni (Closer to Love, 1996) and Spremeni me (Change Me, 2008), and four collections of short stories, the latest one being Zakon želje (Law of Desire, 2000). He has also published three non-fiction books). He enjoys traveling, always on a shoestring.

James G. Coon. (b. 1950, Cincinnati, USA) is a founding editor of New Europe Writers. His work has appeared in Warsaw Tales, Prague Tales, Budapest Tales, and elsewhere. Currently a resident of Bangkok, he is a frequent visitor to that wondrous land located between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.

 Milan Dekleva. (b.1946 in Ljubljana) is a poet, essayist and novelist, who has published fifteen books of poetry and several plays, the book of short stories and three novels as well as many children’s books and musicals. An accomplished jazz pianist and a former rugby player, Dekleva, an award-winning author, rose a particular prominence in the nineties.

Miriam Drev.Born. 1957 in Ljubljana, she graduated from the Faculty of Art at Ljubljana University  in Comparative Literature and English.. Her literary translations are considered round 60 of books; souredila and translated the text is an anthology of new British writing: Last year she hasb recently published his book of poems Nativity, now in preparation, the third collection.

Andrew Fincham. (b. 1964, Staffordshire, England) is a co-founder of New Europe Writers. His poetry has appeared in over a dozen anthologies. The bilingual Centre of Gravity (Ibis 2004) received the UNESCO / Poezja Dzisiaj award for foreign poetry in Poland. Many of his Uncle Dint stories have appeared in former N.E.W. anthologies.

Evald Flisar. Born  1945 in Gerlinci in the Prekmurje region of eastern Slovenia. is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist and editor of the oldest Slovenian literary journal Sodobnost, published since 1933. He read comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and English in London, where he spent 17 years of his life, editing (among other things) an encyclopeadia of science and writing stories and radio plays for the BBC

Ivo Frbežar. Born 1949 Ljubljana he is, poet, writer, painter, graphic designer, publicist, editor and publisher In 1984 he founded the Literary Club Grosuplje, and the RES literary magazine, which was published several years and he became its first editor in chief. For some years now he e has organized,  a literary summer school in the Cochlear Grosupljem. He has so far issued 14 own books, of which 2 in translation abroad by choosing (miscellanies, anthologies), and participated in six.

Niko Grafanauer  b. 1940….Slovenia  is a famous Slovenian readers as a very versatile artist for adults and children, translator, essayist and editor of the legendary New magazine, one of the driving forces of the Slovenian Spring, Singing and thinking are in his poetry is always two faces of one journey, which is in Slovenian poetry without binding cases and for future generations of readers and writers.

Brian Henry. b.  1972 in Columbus, Ohio  is a poet, translator, editor, and literary critic. He lives in Richmond, Virginia. Since 1995, governed by the magazine “Verse”, during the years 1997-98 while he was a poetry editor for the Australian magazine ‘Meanjin. Poems published in numerous magazines worldwide, such as “The Paris Review,” “The Yale Review” , “American Poetry Review,” etc. As he writes poetry critic for the “Times Literary Supplement ‘,’ PN Review.

David Hill. (b. England, 1971) lives in Washington and has published Angels and Astronauts, Bald Ambition, and Consumed. His free quarterly leaflet Lyriklife features examples of his published work, including translations from German, Hungarian, Romanian, and Russian. An avid poetry performer, he founded The Budapest Bardroom and is preparing Danube Black.

Alojz Ihan(b. ….1961….) is a doctor, specialist in medical microbiology and immunology from Slovenia. Beside his medical profession he is also an acclaimed poet, writer, essayist and editor. He is also known for his poetry and regularly publishes essays and oppinons in Slovene newspapers and journals. He received the Prešeren Foundation Award for his poetry collection Srebrnik (Silver Coin) in 1987 and in 1996 won the Jenko Award for his poetry colletion Južno dekle (Southern Girl).

Jure Jacob (b. 1977) ….In 2003 LUD.  Literatura published his first collection of poems Tri postaje (Three Stations), for which he was awarded the Zlata ptica Award for outstanding achievements of a young artist. His second collection Budnost (Wakefulness, 2006) was short-listed for The Jenko Prize for poetry. He works as a literary critic and lives in Ljubljana.

Milan Klec.  (b. 1954, Slovenia ) is a poet, playwright and novelist. After a few years of teaching(those children remember him with gratitude) he has survived since 1979 as afreelance writer in his hometown.. He has written 7 poetry books, 3 plays and 21 novels and books of short stories. In 2007 he won the Prešeren Foundation Award and before that theŽupančič Prize (1989) and Jenko Prize (1980).

Miroslav Košuta. (b.  1936   … ) is a Slovene poet, playwright and translator from Trieste, a younger representative of Intimism and Socialist Realism. On 7 February 2011, he received the Prešeren Award, the highest cultural award in Slovenia, for his poetry and contributions to the preservation of the Slovene language in Italy.

Asko Kunnap. b. 1971 in Tartu, Estonia, is a poet with many talents, a synthesis of a writer and an artist, and his books of poems all reflect it He also  is an illustrator, designs books, board games and CD covers and runs a alternative micro publishing house Näo Kirik (The Face Church) as well as writing poetry.  His poems are included in the Arc anthology, A Fine Line: New Poetry from Eastern & Central Europe (2004) published in the UK, and in the anthology of new European poetry,

Barbara Marčič. b. Maribor, she went to the Music and Ballet School where she learned to play the flute. She started her dance education in 1995, when she joined the famous Mojca Ussar who taught her Jazz Ballet. Throughout her education (from 1993 to 2000) she was freelancing for the Slovenian National Theater Maribor, where she appeared in plays as well as dance and music shows.

Dragica Marinič.(b. 1959, Maribor), is an artist and song-writer, sculptor and director of the Public Institute Youth Cultural Centre in Maribor and the President of the Slovenian Association of Art Therapists. Exhibited in group (Society Ceramicists Podravje Majolica) and solo exhibitions (Union, 2000). Literature she has published in journals My Brush, Apocalypse, Locutio on-line, radio, Maribor and Ljubljana and journals on the World Day of Prayer.

Wojciech Maslarz. (b. Kutno, Poland, 1962) is a philologist, English teacher, poet, and translator who lives in Zyrardow.. He has recently published 4 chapbooks of verse The Image of the Minotaur, Giradova Zelazna Miasto, London Burning and The Oyster Knife. He is Polish Editor of New Europe Writers.

 Marinka M. Miklič. Born in 1948 in Štritu, since 1964 lives in Novo Mesto, she is a member of the Literary Society of Designing. She writes short stories, novels, spoof, satire and anecdotes, which she has published in literary and other magazines.  January 2010 has in Postojna with the Humoresko Diploma won the prose Mnogoboja 2010, May the same year she received a Pen Onino 2010,. In August 2011, Slovenian readers voted her the Anecdote Thong Onino Story of all Stories.

 Brane Mozetic. (b. 1958, Slovenia ) is a poet, prose writer, and editor of the literary collections Aleph (Center for Slovenian Literature) and Lambda (Škuc), His opus extends to twelve poetry collections, a book of short stories and two novels. For his poetry book Banalije (Banalities, 2003) he received the Jenko Award. With Še banalije (More Banalities, 2005) and In še (And More, 2007) .

Raman Mundair..Born in Ludhiana, India, she is a writer and artist. and came to live in the UK at the age of five. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, A Choreographer’s Cartography and Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves – both published by Peepal Tree Press.. Her collection of short stories In the Light of Other was published in 2008. She now resides in Scotland.

Ales Mustar.  (b.1968, Slovenia) is a poet and translator. He has degrees in English and Education from the Faculty of Arts and a Ph.D. in Romanian literature from the University of Bucharest His poetry has been published in all major magazines and translated into English, Macedonian, Romanian, Czech, and Polish. His bookof poetry Court Interpretations was translated into English and Macedonian.He also writes texts for alternative theatre performances without an actor (Sixteen turns, 2005,Feng shot 2011).

Boris A. Novak. b. Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1953. a Slovene poet, playwright and translator, was He is a professor of Comparative Literature and Philosophy. Novak has been a freelance writer, a dramaturg in the Slovene National Theatre in Ljubljana, and an editor of Nova revija (The New Magazine).. He currently edits a literary magazine for children Kurirèek (The Little Messenger). He has received several art awards, among others a Prešeren fund award, the highest Slovene national art award, for his poetry.

 Iztok Osjnik. (b. 1951, Ljubljana) is a poet, fiction writer, and festival organizer who has published 28 collections of poetry the last one Married to Red in 2012), four novels (including Dark Matter and Pigs Fly into the Sky). and four novels. He now runs the Golden Boat International Poetry Translation Workshop and the Škocjan International Conference on Comparative Literature.

Josip Osti. Born Sarajevo, 1945,a poet, prose writer and essayist, literary critic, anthologist and translator, He was the editor of the culture part of the student magazine Naši dani, editor at the publishing house Veselin Masleša, Secretary of the literature society of the city of Sarajevo and Director of the international literary festival Sarajevo Days of Poetry, He lives as a freelance artist in Tomaj, Slovenia.

Ana Pepelnik.(b.1979) lives in Ljubljana. She studied Comparative Literature and Theory of Literature at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana. She works as a presenter for the independent radio station Radio Študent and takes part in music-poetry performances. Her poems have been published in the journals of Literatura and Dialogi.; Her second book, Utrip oranžnih luči na semaforjih came out in spring 2009. Her translations of poetry into Slovene include the following: Elizabeth Bishop, James M. Schuyler, Matthew Zapruder ( American Linden; Šerpa 2008), but she also translates into English.

Miha Pintarič  was born on October 12, 1963, in Ljubljana. He teaches French literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. He has published two poetry collections: Nugae (LUD Literatura, Ljubljana, 2007) and Molitve (Prayers, Mohorjeva družba, Celje, 2009), and an essay collection Neškropljene limone (Unsprayed Lemons, Mohorjeva družba, Celje, 2008), nominated for the Rožanc Prize.

Tatjana Jamnik Pocajt. B. Maribor,Slovenia, she is writer, poet, photographer, theater director, choreographer. Her creative and life path was marked by dancing, which has been her faithful companion since childhood. then another master’s degree in business studies and declarative, haiku. Various literary magazines (Apocalypse, Mentor, Four Seasons, Locutio) and also on Radio Slovenia Literary and Nocturne. have published several of her poems and haiku- which are also included in the Slovenian Haiku anthology Pond Silence (2005) and translated into 11 languages. From prose texts were first created short stories by some also published in literary magazines and newspapers (7D, Apocalypse, Mentor, Locutio),

Gregor Podlogar. b. Ljubljana in 1974, graduated with a degree in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana. He has published his poems in various literary magazines in Slovenia and abroad. Aleph Press published his first two collections of poetry, States (1997) and Joy in Vertigo (2002). In co-authorship with the poet Primož Čučnik and Žiga Kariž, a painter, an experimental book on New York entitled Ode on Manhattan Ave (2003) came out with Sherpa Press. In 2006 A Million Seconds Closer was published by Literatura Press. He lives, works and drinks tea in Ljubljana.

 Andraž Polič. Born 1972 , Slovenia , is a poet, composer, musician, actor. He has composed music for dozens of theatre production at home and abroad. He is a member of the group Hamlet Express and lives in Ljubljana and Prague.

Lili Potpara. (b. 1965, Maribor, Slovenia) is a writer and freelance translator who works in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines and collected into two books: Zgodbe na dusek (Bottoms Up Stories, LUD Literatura, 2002) and Prosim, preberi (Please, Read Me, LUD Literatura, 2006). Zgodbe na dusek won the best literary debut award at the 2002 Slovenian Book Fair and was reprinted in 2006. She is the translator of many novels from English into Slovenian, including Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which was recognized as an excellent achievement by the Slovenian Literary Translators’ Association in 2008.

Sebastjan Pregelj. b. 1970 in Ljubljana he belongs to a younger generation of Slovenian writers. Since 1991, publishing his stories in literary magazines. In 1996 he released his debut Burkači, desecrators and krivoprisežniki, followed by collection of short stories Cirilina flower, sows without pearls and Awakening.. Pregelj was with all three novels a finalist for the Kresnik Award – Award for Best Novel, awarded by the newspaper Delo

  Aleksander Prokopiev. b. 1953 in Skopje, Macedonia. A former Balkan rock star with Idols and Mouth to Mouth, he studied Ethno-Philology in Paris and has also worked as a writer, editor and director of Balkan Projects at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje. He has published fourteen books of short stories and essays including The Young Master of the Game (1983), Letter about a Snake (1992), Anti-Instructions for Personal Use (1996) and The Man With Four Watches (2003).

Yana Punkinab. 1984 and grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has BA in Bulgarian language and literature from Sofia University, St. Climent Ohridski. Since 2008 she has worked for Bulgaria National Radio’s cultural channel, ‘Hristo Botev’. Her first collection of poems, Pause, was published earlier this year.

Angus Reid.(b. UK, 1960) lived for ten eventful years in Ljubljana.  He wrote, directed and edited The Ring, which won ‘Best Central European Documentary Feature’ at Jihlava IDFF, and Afriko v Glavo!, both of which were part-commissioned and broadcast by RTV Slovenia.  He wrote and published a number of books at the same time, including two collections of poetry, The Gift and White Medicine.

Delimir Rešicki,  b. 1960 in the Baranja region of Croatia,  poet, writer, literary critic, editor of the daily newspaper Glas Slavonije, He is one of the leading contemporary Croatian poets and his poems have been included in various anthologies and translated into several languages.

Miomira Šegina. b. 1962 in Srebrenica  After high school she enrolled in medical school in Tuzla, in the second year of study, she moved to Slovenia. Economist, which is safe chair in a big company to replace the dynamic swing freelance journalist. Now is a registered Kulturnica the previously described areas of work: playwright, novelist, photographer. This is rocking it became commonplace.

 Peter Semolic. Born in Ljubljana in 1967, studied general linguistics and cultural studies at the University of Ljubljana. He is the author of eight books of poetry: He received many prizes for his work, including the two most eminent awards in Slovenia, Jenko’s Poetry Prize and the Prešeren Prize — the National Award for Literature and Arts. In 1998 he also won the Vilenica Crystal Award. Peter Semolič also writes radio plays, children’s literature and translates from English, French, Serbian and Croatian. His poetry has been translated into Italian, French, Spanish, English, German, Finnish, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Serbian.

Miroslav Slana. b. 1949, Sovjak. Slovenian playwright, essayist, poet, writer, journalist and critic, He studied comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana and Zagreb. He works as a freelance writer and journalist in Maribor.  He has won literary prizes and awards to: Yugoslav Kurirček festival, dragon games, call for short story 7D, theater festival in Kranj, the original theatrical work, literary Štatenbergu, ZBZ Slovenia, Gold Microphone Festival dialect songs, diploma Dalmatia u hikes, etc.

Morelle Smith. Born in Edinburgh Scotland, she has published several collections of poetry and two of fiction. The most recent poetry collection is Gold Tracks, Fallen Fruit which came out in 2011.  She also writes travel articles and translates from French.

Ronny Someck. b. 1951 .in Baghdad and came to Israel as a young child. He studied Hebrew literature and philosophy at Tel Aviv University and drawing at the Avni Academy of Art. He has worked with street gangs, and currently teaches literature and leads creative writing workshops, he has published 10 volumes of poetry, selections of which have appeared in Arabic translation, French (with the exile Iraqi poet- A.K. El-Janabi), Catalan, Albanian, Italian, Macedonian, Croatian, Yiddish, Nepali, Dutch, Danish and English.

Marjan Strojan.  b. Ljubljana 1949; poet, translator, film critic; raised on his uncle’s farm in the fifties; studied philosophy and comparative literature in the seventies; Currently with the Cultural programme of Radio Slovenia in Ljubljana.. Strojan’s poetry appeared in German, Check and Polish, Spanish, Italian and English translations. He is an honorary fellow of IWP, University of Iowa, and a vice president of Slovenian national committee of PEN.

Lucija Stupica. b. 1971 in Celje, lives in Ljubljana  from the beginning of had studied architecture. Since 1997 she has published poems in the Slovenian literary magazines: Literature, New Magazine and Modern. She writes articles on architecture and design, deals with the design of interior design. Her debut Brow in the Sun, which was published  by Beletrina, has outlined her creative journey in the direction of poetic creation.

 Sigurbjorg Thrastardottir.(b. Reykjavik, Iceland 1973) is a writer and columnist. Her debut collection of poetry, Blálogaland (Land of Blue Flames) was published in spring 1999,. As well as poetry she has written dramatic and prose texts, and her first novel, Sólar Saga (The Story of Sun), received the Tomas Gudmundsson Literary Prize in 2002. A bilingual collection of her poems in Icelandic and English (translated by Bernard Scudder), To Bleed Straight, was published by Forlagið in 2008

Suzan Tratnik. b. 1963 in Murska Sobota, Slovenia. A writer, journalist, essayist and gay activist, she is the co-editor of L, She is the author of short story collections Pod niclo (Below Zero, 2001, published in German as Unterm Strich by Milena Verlag) and Na svojem dvoriau (In One’s Own Backyard) and of a novel, Ime mi je Damijan (My name is Damian), which will be published in Czech, German and Serbian in 2005. She has translated several books of British and American fiction and non-fiction for different publishers

  Maja Vidmar. born 1961) is a Slovene poet, author of several poetry collections. For her collection of poems Prisotnost (Presence) she won the Jenko Award in 2005 and the Prešeren Foundation Award in 2006 has published many collections of poetry, Her body-based lyricism, distilled and sensual, represents a very specific female writing which addresses the reader with an incredible directness, rather than reflection. She lives with her husband, who is an actor, and two children, in Ljubljana

 Robert Vrbnjak. Born in 1963 in Rijeka, Croatia, he has published short stories in several Croatian literary magazines as well as two novels. His books include a collection of short stories, Triplex letačice, 1996; a poetry book, Pjesme kartonskog lutka, 2010; and two novels, Zbog munjolova, zaborava i kemijskog sastava ljubavi, 2010 and Dobitnik (under the pen name Tamoya Sanshal), winner of the 2008 Croatian Science Fiction award SFera.

 Duska Vrhovac.  b. 1947 in Banja Luka, former Yugoslavia , writer, journalist and translator,. She graduated contemporary literature at Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia.  She has published 17 books of poetry many of which have been translated, in part or in full, in 16 languages (English, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian…) and she is considered one of the most famous contemporary poets from Serbia.

 Jadran Zalokar.b.1947 in Ljubljana, He lives and works in Rijeka, Croatia. He is the doctor of Philosophical sciences, a haiku poet and an artist. At the moment, he has just  started a project under working title The World Haiku Anthology.

 Andrew Zawacki. (b.1972….) is an American poet, critic, editor, and translator. His first book By Reason of Breakings won the 2001 University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Series, chosen by Forrest Gander. He has held fellowships from  the Slovenian Writers’ Association in Slovenia, the Millay Colony, the Saltonstall Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.. He  has co-edited the international literary magazine Verse with Brian Henry since 1995 and has taught at the University of Georgia since 2005.