Dear President of MANU, Ljupcho Kocarev, honoured and dear family of Bogomil, dear academics, dear colleagues and friends,
Allow me to thank you for the honour you have bestowed on me – on this sad occasion to speak out personally about the work of academician Gjuzel, with whom, in the past three decades of literary creation, we have maintained a close, professional, but also friendly, cooperation.
I am especially obliged by the fact that I have to speak besides the respected poet and my former professor, academician Vlada Uroshevikj, who together with Radovan Pavlovski and Bogomil Gjuzel, constitutes the historical and qualitative core of eminent representatives of the Third Poetry Generation.
In order to avoid overlapping with other speakers, on this occasion, I will focus on the period from 1994 to the present, during which my direct professional collaboration with academician Gjuzel took place.
I will start first with a few personal remarks and new insights, which so far do not seem to have been well known or clarified. It is a well-known fact, although so far it may have remained insufficiently emphasized, that, at the time of his creative beginnings, Bogomil Gjuzel appeared as a member of the urban and civic (liberal) oriented wing in our literature, which in turn left a recognizable mark on his creative profile, his gentlemanly behaviour, and, especially, on his inherent, cosmopolitan value system.
That trace remains visible in his actions within the Struga Poetry Evenings, in the efforts to open the festival to the West and America.
Everyone today agrees that Gjuzel is one of the (unfortunately not so numerous) intellectuals and erudites with a wide-angle lens of curiosity and interests. His thorough reading passion and education is not exhausted only by the narrow circle of topics (from the literary and cultural milieu), but goes further, and that is why his interlocutors regularly emphasize his lucidity, analyticalness, the wide range of arguments! This quality could not be overlooked and that is why Bogomil enjoyed high respect among his colleagues from abroad.
His intellectual curiosity remained alive until the last moment, so he usually asked and ordered us to bring him new books by selected authors, in addition to being a subscriber to a prestigious American literary magazine.
As a democratically and liberally oriented author, but also a versatile and active intellectual, during the turbulent transition years, Gjuzel became part of the League for Democracy (along with Prof. Gjorgji Marjanovikj)), and then the first president (and one of the founders) of The Association of Independent Writers of Macedonia (in 1994), which with its activities revived and enriched the literary environment in Macedonia, renewing the fruitful creative cooperation with writers from related associations throughout the region. Gjuzel was also the editor-in-chief of the magazine “Nashe Pismo” for many years, completing 81 issues.
However, we must admit the fact that it was with great difficulty that this association received financial support, but also that it hardly got to voice itself in our literary circles and media, probably due to proverbial (ideological) suspicion.
In these noble efforts to enrich our literary life, Gjuzel enjoyed not only the support but also the creative alliance of L. Dirjan, as a tireless spiritus movens (to whom, shortly after her untimely death, he dedicated five moving and memorable poems). Their life and creative connection was contagious and animated and inspired not only the two of them, but also the other writers, artists and intellectuals, with whom they were constantly surrounded!
Out of the essential indicators that in a recognizable way mark the poetic worldview of Gjuzel as the most prominent (and no less moving) on this occasion we would single out the complex of “hereditary guilt”, the curse of origin or the origin as a curse in itself, including the bitter search for human archetypal roots, for the Home (with a capital H).
For an author like Bogomil, poetry is not (nor could it be) an idyllic activity, which is written, with a convenient, comfortable lying “in the lap” of the house, the father-land, the history. On the contrary, for him, poetry meant and offered a tedious spiritual transformation, self-stripping to the bare (X-ray) bottom, when the drama of only One Man also becomes a drama of all humanity (as it has always been).
That is why among his lyrical heroes one can find the great and tragic names and examples of Prometheus, Antheus, but also the Eleusinian philosopher, Parmenides – all members of the Hellenic tradition.
The transgenerational guilt and the trauma of origin are evidenced by the programmatically sung verses from the poem “Homo in se curvatus”, in which for the first time in our country Gjuzel will inventively break the tragic and, until then invisible, homonymy that reigns between the words Father’s guilt // fatherland: “* the little fatherland, with no one else’s but the father’s guilt and the mother’s who gave birth to you there”. Or, the questioning despair in oneself (expressed in his prose “Biography”): “And what have I been reduced to – with the eternal background buzzing and roaring of the fateful father’s guilt as the only homeland*… And how far can the inherited destiny go (to *the third generation*, as it is said in the Bible?), if not a curse.”