Slovenians are heirs to culture and influences from both Western and Eastern Europe, and they are among the most multilingual people in Europe. A long history of being engulfed in a larger political system has left Slovenia with a singular appreciation for its poets. Komelj is a bit of a chimera: his book includes imagistic lyrics, pastiches of quotes, persona poems, political polemics, and a reasonably faithful translation of Seneca. He references Futurist operas, NATO military action, personal friends, and literary and artistic heroes. His view is wide and deep, but throughout this book, and despite all these shifts in attention and approach, he builds a stable, unique vision.
Miklavž Komelj (1973) is one of Slovenia’s most outstanding living poets. His Hipodrom first appeared in 2006, and his other books of poetry are Luč delfina (Light of the Dolphin, 1991), Jantar Časa (The Amber of Time, 1995), Rosa (Dew, 2002), Zverinice (Little Beasts, 2006), Nenaslovljiva imena (Unaddressable Names, 2008), Modra obleka (Blue Dress, 2011), Roke v dežju (Hands in the Rain, 2011), Noč je abstraktnejša kot n (The Night is More Abstract than n, 2014). Among his other publications are a collection of essays on poetry, Nujnost poezije (Necessity of Poetry, 2010), and a prose work, Sovjetska knjiga (A Soviet Book, 2011). Komelj has received several of the most important Slovenian literary awards, and he translates work into Slovene from several languages (Gérard de Nerval, Fernando Pessoa, César Vallejo, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Djuna Barnes, Jack Hirschman). His most recent research is dedicated to the literary opus of Djuna Barnes.
Dan Rosenberg earned a BA from Tufts University, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD from the University of Georgia. He is the author of two collections of poems: The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press 2012, winner of the 2011 American Poetry Journal book prize) and cadabra (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015). He has also written two chapbooks: A Thread of Hands (Tilt Press, 2010) and Thigh’s Hollow (Omnidawn, forthcoming, winner of the Omnidawn 2014 Poetry Chapbook Contest). Rosenberg co-edits the independent online poetry journal Transom, and he currently teaches creative writing and literature at Wells College in Aurora, NY.
A bilingual Croatian-American author of short stories, essays and criticism; translator; visual artist; and illustrator; Boris Gregoric grew up as a military brat. He participated in the International Writing Program in Iowa City in 1991 and was a recipient of the Hammett/Hellman Foundation grant. He has published six books of short fiction and writes regularly for Croatian national radio. He has won several literary awards, including the prestigious Goran national award for young poets in 1988. His first novel, Kapor i Konj (Kapor & Horse), was published by Meander publishing house, Zagreb, in 2015.
His blog is: iantbrill.blogspot.com.
Hippodrome, by Miklavž Komelj
from Slovene by Boris Gregoric and Dan Rosenberg
ISBN 978-1-938890-13-0 (paper)
6 x 8
208 pages [Bilingual Slovene/English]
I congratulate you on Hippodrome. A magnificent book! I am thrilled. Such keenness, such power and range. I bought it just before leaving for Civitella Ranieri, popped by Sansepolcro, and then read Hippodrome on a park bench … I am utterly thrilled that such a magnificent book has come out.…
—Tomaž Šalamun, from a letter to the author
“…it is precisely because of all this complexity and range that Hippodrome is a beautiful, rewarding text filled with consideration and devoid of pretense, crafted by a true modernist seeking not to outwit nor befuddle the reader, but to enrich and embolden.” — Open Books, A Poem Emporium
“I picture the world as sutures,” the Slovenian poet Miklavž Komelj writes, “as wounds knitting.” In his first collection of poems in English translation, Hippodrome, he knits together an astonishing range of historical facts and ideas, ways of being and formal strategies, conscious at every turn of his obligations to the past, the present, and future. Everything is thrillingly alive in these poems, gracefully rendered by Boris Gregoric and Dan Rosenberg. A buzzard circling over a deserted quarry inspires Komelj to declare that he "was sent to this world for her ecstatic cry/ and after that, for the longest time, for no other sound." But what amazing sounds he has recorded in Hippodrome—sounds that tune and mend our ears. —Christopher Merrill, author of Necessities