Gjuzel’s poems are undoubtedly interwoven with the fundamental paradox of belonging and apostasy. Among other things, this is evidenced by the enigmatic motto of his unusually interesting book of travelogues about America “The Whole World is a House”). This empirically verified, intimate code of one’s own existential schism, in short, says: “alienated at home, housed abroad.”
The motive of the ancestral sin is indicative and permanently permeated in Gjuzel’s poetry, where it is linked to a number of different contexts, of which the biblical one is of course originally and universally known, but not the only one. In Macedonian poetry, Gjuzel will be remembered as a unique example – in his family history the most tragic elements of this primordial (sinful) motif that I call the motive of delegated guilt of the ancestors authentically intertwine (and he creatively shapes them in his works).
Bogomil Gjuzel came from Macedonia, lived in Macedonia and wrote in Macedonian, but his work cannot be reduced and limited to the Macedonian cultural space, because long ago (more precisely, from the very beginning) it had transcended the national linguistic and literary frontiers, standing on an equal footing with contemporary trends in European and world literature. This fact was confirmed at the very beginning, with the famous manifesto “Epic on Vote” which was originally published in “Polja” from Novi Sad, in the distant 1960.
In Charles Simic’s foreword to the English edition of the book “**The Wolf at the Door”, this renowned American author states unequivocally: “Here is a situation that could have come from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. A world-class poet writes in a small language, in a small country, in a pretty remote part of the world. His poems are magnificent, but… there are not many translators from Macedonian, and the publishers, who usually lose money even by translating novels and poems from major languages, are cautious about being able to do something about it, even when they recognize the excellence of his work.”*
Not only in this poetic space, but also beyond, in the days after the physical departure of Gjuzel, in the future we will continue to miss exactly the recognizable feature and fierce beauty of the life stoicism and the personal dignity of Bogomil, to which he naturally adhered (and which suited him so well), as opposed to the cruel legacy of the (initial, family-historical) trauma.
Although his life story (ever since he was orphaned, from his earliest childhood) is permeated with primordial and authentic tragedy, in his work Gjuzel was not inclined to love (the presently fashionable) exposure and exploitation of pain, as well as his own “capitalization” through the role of a victim (as this, for conjunctural reasons, is often practiced by many of the self-proclaimed sufferers today, in the age of political revisionism.)
Bogomil Gjuzel is an author whose verses remain deeply ingrained in the poisonous cocktail of the past, present and future, carrying a thorough ferocity within themselves, along with the precious power of catharsis.
His radical and layered poetry, soaked in lavish erudition, in an authentic way inaugurates the poetics of post-modernism and intertextuality on the Macedonian literary scene.
In the midst of this pandemic, which managed to shackle the whole world last year, the act of his departure is even more painful, especially the realization that together with his personal, Bogomil Gjuzel, in the meantime, had to witness the current global battle – with the same strength, dignity and rare sobriety, like his lyrical Prometheus, cruelly chained to his undeserved rock, but only with the liver, not with the Spirit!
May Bogomil Gjuzel and his rich literary heritage, which makes us proud that we are his contemporaries and compatriots, have eternal glory and be unforgettable!
P.S. In the days after his departure, owing to the superficial approach and inertia of the media (as a kind of indicator of the spirit of the time) – we witnessed that his rich and layered opus these days was initially shown and reduced only to his rich translating, but not other creative activity!
But this speaks a lot about the scale and depth of the value crisis, in which (with negligence, worthy of an Atlantis) our environment has been sinking for years…