Tsvetanka Elenkova (ed) & Jonathan Dunne (tr.):
At the End of the World: Contemporary Poetry from Bulgaria
Published 15 October 2012
Paperback, 136pp. 9x6ins, £9.95 / $17
Download a PDF sample from this volume here.
At the End of the World: Contemporary Poetry from Bulgaria is an anthology of eighteen Bulgarian poets writing and publishing from the middle of the twentieth century to today. Rather than being a collection of emblematic poems, it is a thematic book which reflects the searching and original, distinctive styles of contemporary Bulgarian poetry, itself reminiscent of the city and landscape. So Ivan Teofilov's natural psychology comes face to face with Nikolai Kanchev's metaphysical hunger, the poet-dissident Konstantin Pavlov's political sarcasm tussles with Lyubomir Levchev's Orphic idealism. Nor is this an anthology of Bulgarian poets within the context of the Bulgarian literary model, but of their insights and themes, which widen and enrich contemporary Europe with the little known picture of a country on its eastern border, at the other end of the world. Few are those who realize that Bulgaria gave not only the Cyrillic alphabet, but also Orthodoxy to the Slavonic world and is currently the only EU member state to use the Cyrillic script. The questions of ecology, emigration, gender, travelling, European culture, are topical enough. In character Bulgarian poetry is thoughtful, both philosophical and abstract. But this is not German metaphysics or French surrealism, Eastern mysticism or Latin American magic realism. This is poetry charged with the death of existence, its rationalization through the prism of symbols, sacraments and parallelism. Characteristics of the Orthodox tradition.
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