The visual objectification of the poem “Not-Being” in Ivan Ivanovski’s animated film builds on the numerous interpretations of the poetic image and meaning, which Shopov incorporates and interjects in the words themselves, into the poem, and, in general, throughout his entire poetry collection. The interpretation of that which is named here as  impossible, as unachievable, thoughtfully chooses metaphor as the means of bridging realities from genus to species. This expressive energy is best elucidated when it intends to objectify the paradoxical logic that confronts creativity with its own impotence – i.e. with its weakness to encompass and express all the plentitude and complexity that it contains. In that regard, the poetic animation of the essence of being through the use of watercolor drawing in 2D animation, adds new interpretive layers to Shopov’s poetic vision, which Ivanovski through the rhythm of the steps and the movement of the figures relates to the solitude that suits an individual who is aware of the incommunicable glow of the soul.


I traveled a long time, traveled an entire eternity,

from myself to your not-being.


Trembling and terrible,

            I stand beneath the sky of your body,

            bewildered by your black magic.


The animated film “In the Dream of a Black Woman” by Vladimir Lukash is produced using a combined technique of drawing and stop animation, fully utilising the freedom inherent in the interpretation of a hypnographic drawing or mnemonic tracing. Such an approach directly questions the degree of syncretism between the poetic foundation (the text) and the image (the visualization/drawing/animation) that derives from it, based on two interpretative assumptions. One is grounded in the sphere of the probable, that is, in the perception of a notion that is contained in multiple things, yet not absolutely, but in relation to what can be different from what it is, while the other serves as the complete opposite of the first in its (faithful) adherence to the signifying, symbolical, conceptual and all other elements of the work that inspired the animated film, i.e., it adheres to what it is. The visual rhetoric of the animated film “In the Dream of a Black Woman” supports the first assumption – that this is an opportunity for the author to express his own fictions, visions, illusions and fears, to dream the dream of the black woman as if he is dreaming his own dream, thus surprising the viewer the same way that the poet Aco Shopov surprises the reader when, after his return from Senegal, he uses the  collection of poems “Song of the Black Woman” to arrange his impressions not so much of Africa, but of his homeland.


You wreck my health and make me well again,

you say to me: I am your night and your eternal moon.

Be calm, for here you will live long;

my dream is more terrible than the most terrible rebellion.


Ashes of the dream, dream of the ashes. Horrordeath.

 The poem “Horrodeath”, wherein Shopov aestheticizes the catastrophy experienced by Skopje in the aftermath of the 1963 earthquake, is reproduced in Krste Gospodinovski’s film using the combined technique of time lapse and stop animation. The choice to design a doll made of organic materials as the focal object of the animated film corresponds to the director’s main intention – to show the ruins of life by visualizing the decay, rotting and emptiness left behind by these processes. Such an approach develops a very strong associative and suggestive connection with other examples of “visualized” traumas from the history of world natural disasters, such as, for example, the hollow testimonies of the physical bodies of the former inhabitants of ancient Pompeii. The re-embodiment of these “empty places” as castings filled with lapis lazuli, ash and dust is aesthetically very close to the figurative design that Gospodinovski devises in his short animated film, and through it to the poetic images embedded in the verses of the opening and closing stanzas of the song “Horrordeath”:


Here all things are born and die on their own.

            A great stone. A scar. A mumbled, muted word.

Spring is its mother and stepmother, wicked and shrewd.

Ashes of the dream, dream of the ashes. Horrordeath


The visual transformation of Shopov’s poetic vision in the omnibus of animated films Not-Being represents an authorial contextualization of completely new and different worlds in relation to the poetic templates that inspired the works of Ivanov, Ivanovski, Lukash and Gospodinovski. Circumnavigating the semantic planes of the poems “Long Coming of the Fire,” “Not-Being,” “In the Dream of the Black Woman,” and “Horrordeath,” this tentatively called animation of the subconscious has resulted in a new synergy with the printed media. It has embodied the author’s visions in the form of a graphic book omnibus, designed in the spirit of what today is understood as Book art. This book concept, realized as the confluence of idea, form and structure, now inhabits the lyrical home of the poet Aco Shopov, contributing with its wonderful optical harmony and a slew of new meanings.


Translation of text to English by Milan Damjanoski in:

Not-Being, Graphic Omnibus, Skopje: Flip Book, 2023.


Translation of poems to English: Rawley Grau and Christina E. Kramer in:

The Long Coming of the Fire, Deep Vellum Publishing, Phoneme Media, 2023.

AuthorDarin Angelovski
2024-01-28T13:02:51+00:00 January 20th, 2024|Categories: Reviews, Literature, Blesok no. 152|Comments Off on THE LYRICAL SUBJECT FROM ANIMATION TO BOOK ART