Translated from Macedonian: Zoran Ančevski
(Zoran Ančevski, Celestial Pantomime. Skopje, Templum, 2018)
1. Journey One: Naming
Celestial Pantomime. An intriguing title. Playful, mysterious, polysemous, intermedial, provocative… In Zoran Ančevski’s poetic universe the syntagm “celestial pantomime” is a synonym of writing/creating. And even more so: “celestial pantomime” is a specific slogan of our poet, his “call for traveling” – literally or spiritually – with him as an experienced skipper across the celestial expanses without and within us. For, the heaven, which acts as a guardian of all secrets and a regulator of the cosmic order, exists inside any human being and resides in the soul.
2. Journey Two: Mathematical Poetics
Celestial Pantomime is characterized by mathematical strictness and minutely devised architectonics: the introductory triad, the poems “Wild Horses”, “Celestial Pantomime”, and “The Fireflies”, that design the entrance, or the introduction (“Prolegomena”) to the book, is followed by four more cycles of poems: “La Vita Nuova”, “Nocturnal Houses and Elegies”, “Daily Dithyrambs and Capriccios”, and “Strong Songs”. Besides the polysemous character and the numerological symbolism (three, one, four), it seems that the concept of this poetry collection follows the rhythm of dialectics (life and death, day and night) in accordance with the spiritual need of the poet, but also alludes to the power of the poem to harmonize the opposites in the course of human existence, to resolve the differences between what is his own (the self, the home) and what is remaining (the other), in order to offer a mosaic-like series of poems that correspond in substance with the main syntagm and fundamental emblem – “the celestial pantomime”.
3. Journey Three: Freedom as the Basic Spiritus Movens
The introductory poem in Celestial Pantomime, “Wild Horses”, is dedicated to “the free-minded”. It is, by no means, inspired by the exhilarating sight of wild horses galloping through the meadows and slopes of Mt. Bistra, and thus, with its explicit dedication, it is very indicative of the creative credo of our poet – freedom: always and before all.
Ančevski is an advocate of freedom in the selection of his poetic themes, in the formal aspect of his verse, and finally in the usage of allusions to his favourite literary forefathers who, quite often, were either subjected to the scrutinizing translator’s eye of our author, or to the boldly established poetic dialogue with them. He even takes the freedom of using the same titles of major poems that belong to his forefathers, e.g. “La Vita Nuova” by Dante Alighieri, or “Anabasis” by Saint-John Perse.