Aleš Debeljak
(Slovénie, 1961)

La Poésie en ce temps
Qui nous sommes
Une asbl, pour quoi faire ?
31 mars - 2 avril 2017
15-17 avril 2016
24-26 avril 2015
25-27 avril 2014
12-14 avril 2013
20-22 avril 2012
01-03 avril 2011
23-25 avril 2010
24-26 avril 2009
11 mars 2009
18-20 avril 2008


Aleš Debeljak (1961) graduated in comparative literature from the University of Ljubljana and received his Ph.D. in Social Thought from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, New York. A 2013 Robert Bosch Senior Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna, he was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of California-Berkeley, a research fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study-Collegium Budapest, a writing fellow at Civitella Ranieri Center, a writing fellow of Bogliasco Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities, and a Roberta Buffett Professor of International Studies at Northwestern University, Chicago.

Debeljak published 14 books of cultural criticism and 9 books of poems in his native Slovenian. His books of poems in English include Smugglers (2015), Without Anesthesia: New and Selected Poems (2010), Dictionary of Silence (1999), The City and the Child (1999), and Anxious Moments (1994). His books of cultural criticism in English include The Hidden Handshake: National Identity and Europe in a Post-Communist World (2004), Reluctant Modernity: The Institution of Art and its Historical Forms (1998), Twilight of the Idols: Recollections of a Lost Yugoslavia (1994), and a comprehensive anthology The Imagination of Terra Incognita: Slovenian Writing 1945-1995 (1997) which he edited. A translator of selected poems by John Ashbery and a book on sociology of knowledge, he edited an anthology of American meta-fiction and an anthology of contemporary Slovenian poetry in English translation.

He won several awards, including the Readers’ Choice Award for the best essay of the decade in a magazine World Literature Today, Slovenian National Book Award, Miriam Lindberg Poetry for Peace Prize (Tel Aviv) and Chiqyu Poetry Prize (Tokio), and was named Ambassador of Science of the Republic of Slovenia. His books have appeared in English, Japanese, German, French, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Albanian, Finish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Catalan, and Italian translation. Founding member of the cultural magazine, Sarajevo Notebooks, and an advisory editor of American literary journal Verse, a contributing editor of scholarly journal, Cultural Sociology, and, he is a recurring visiting professor at the graduate school, College d’Europe, Natolin-Warsaw, teaches cultural studies at the University of Ljubljana, and is a member of European Council on Foreign Relations (London-Berlin-Paris-Madrid-Sofia). He and his American wife, a writer Erica Johnson Debeljak, have three children and make their home in Ljubljana.


Gallusovo nabrežje, Ljubljana

za Mojco Šoštarko

Blagor vsaj tebi. Tu je zima. V temi, še včeraj buden,
sem spet prišel, da prelistal bi naslove starih knjig,
majave stolpnice, pisatelje mladosti in strjeni med.
Vrata brez uradne ure, manjši pesnik brez ženske

spredaj za kartotekami sedi, poznam ga še iz časov,
ko vsi tulili smo enoglasno in zvesto, zbrana dela
zdaj za prgišče centov nudijo, brali smo obsedenci,
sveti Kapital. No, dobro: ne čisto vsi. Eni res smo šli

še v drugo smer, v pejsaže megle in drobni kriminal,
lažna rodbinska debla in hlače, ki se spodaj širijo,
kot se širijo gruče romarjev in duše moških z brki
na carini, ko smo pokazali rdeči potni list. Blagor

tebi, otrok socializma, dežela, ki je ni. Pogrešam te.
Hvala enako. Ni dobro, zakaj to misliš? Tu je zima.
Imam težave z jetri in telovadbo, spakujem se v šipi,
rad norce brijem, a to, kar šteje, si vedela in veš le ti.

(In Tihotapci, Mladinska knjiga, Ljubljana 2009)

Gallus Embankment, Ljubljana

for Mojca Šoštarko

At least you are blessed. Here’s winter. In darkness, still awake from
yesterday, I came here again to browse through the titles of old
books, wobbly skyscrapers, writers of my youth and hardened honey.
The door with no opening hours, a minor poet with no woman

sits in the front behind files, I know him from the times when
we all shouted in one loyal voice, collected works now on offer
for a handful of cents, we read the holy Kapital
like zealots. Well, okay: not exactly all. Some of us took

another road, into landscapes of fog and petty crime, false
family trees, trousers which spread at the bottom, as flocks
of pilgrims and the souls of men with mustaches spread
at customs when we showed them our red passports. Blessed

are you, a child of socialism, of a country that is no more. I miss you.
Me, too. Not good, why do you think so? Here’s winter. I have
problems with my liver and exercise, make faces at the window,
like to fool about, but what matters, only you have known, and still know.

(Translated from Slovenian by Brian Henry / In Smugglers BOA Editions, Rochester, New York, 2015)