Meta Kušar

Meta Kušar was born in 1952 in Ljubljana where she still lives. She has six collections of poetry in print. Her poetry collection Ljubljana was translated into English in 2010 (by Ana Jelnikar & Stephen Watts), and into Serbian in 2011 (by Ivan Obrenov) and Polish in 2013 (by Katarina Šalamun-Biedrzycka & Miłosz Biedrzycki). She has also published a book of interviews with a range of prominent Slovene artists and a book of essays entitled What is Poetic or an Illegal Lesson, for which she received the best-book-of-essay 2012 award. Her poetry has also been translated into any number of languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Arabic. Her collection Vrt/Garden received the best poetry collection award for 2015, the Veronika Prize. Since 1980 she has regularly contributed to the Slovene National Radio and the RAI-Trieste with cultural and historical talks. Occasionally she writes film scripts and directs them and she has also directed a musical performance of her poetry, ‘The Throne of Poetry’, which was staged in Slovenia, Washington (1999) and London (2000).


(Foto: arhiv avtorice)


It snows on tea twigs. On a silk rock I roll up
my sleeves. Ride there to build. To think about a hundred
notebooks where I write sentences. The rocks
of language. The spruce of language. Verses! All language
is a flame above our heads. What about poison
tongues and fatal tongues. In front of the door and under the bushes
I stack my notebooks. Those on the threshold turn
to small houses for spirits. On new lines I catch new spirits.
No real noose for them. The smallest are too big.
When a line escapes, spirits grow into destroyers.
When demolition spreads, it’s hard to eliminate the Devil.
You know how my language survived in the corner of a small dark kennel.
Eating the black earth off the red Iranian carpet.
Every day. With a shovel. I gulped gray clouds. And fiery ones.
Who dares to place his hand on his own book?
Is there a better way to make a vow? What I’m saying
I feel in the air. Now, as I write and later.
From this small kennel I feel and see and hear. I work in it.
See ships that don’t sail, even though emotions
flutter on their big sails. Only trust gets all hands onto the rope.
Alone with yourself you burn the language. Even great Dante shivered
from hardship. He trembled for his native city.
I quiver.