Translated by: Ana Marija Karadjovska.
(“Two love poems, please!”: an anthology of our favorite poems from European authors: love; concept by Zarko Kujundziski, realization by Kristina Velevska, Skopje, Antolog, 2015)
“I love, therefore I am” – that would be the variation of Descartes’ famous motto, seen through the lens of the anthology “Two love poems, please!”. Julija Kristeva declares something similar in her essay “The Praise of love”, where we can read: “If it is alive, our psychic life is in love. If it is not in love, then it is dead” (Kristeva, 2011: 21) Therefore, be in love! One needs to always be in love. “So as not to feel the formidable burden of Time breaking your bones and bending you to the ground” (Бодлер, 1996: 123) , you need to constantly be in love. But with what? With poetry, music, love itself, according to your own will. But do be in love- if I shall paraphrase Baudelaire’s cult poem in prose “Be Drunk”, which seems to ne illustrative for the phenomenon of love as well.
Love is a skill, as Fromm taught us, just as in life: “If we wish to find out how to love, (…) we have to do it just as when we wish to acquire any other skill: music, painting, carpentry, the dexterity of medicine or engineering.” However, “even beside the deeply enrooted will for love, almost everything else is considered more important than love” – continues Fromm: “Success, reputation, money, power – we waste almost all of our energy to learn how to reach these goals, and we do almost nothing to master the skill of love. Is worthy of trying considered only that with which you can earn money and reputation, and does love – which serves ‘only’ the soul, but is not useful in the modern sense of the word – represent a luxury on which one shouldn’t waste too much energy?” – asks Fromm rhetorically (Фром, 2006: 13-15).
The anthology “Two love poems, please!” offers us the triad: poetry, love, music, as a kind of a “holy trinity” of our small, crumbling lives, because only in that way, through the mentioned “skills”, we shall be able to fulfill the yearning to fly to eternity…This is quite an unusual and in many things, specific anthology, composed by the principle of “ordering” by the authors and the collaborators of “Antolog”. Just as ordering a drink in a café or a favorite dish in a restaurant. Forty eight national and foreign poets, storytellers, essayists and translators are the authors of this anthology. However, the authorship of the anthology does not end here, this anthology has other authors: at a meta-level, those are the writers of the poems found in it and at a third level, the authors are also the poems’ translators (when it comes to poems in other languages). When the author of the original idea for the anthology and its realization is added to all of this, we get a group portrait, a complex, hybrid and a many-faced Author. Hence, this is one quite peculiar anthology.
I have always been provoked by authors’ choices; but for the most part, it has been regarding their personal creative work. This time, the authors choose their own favorite poems from other authors, thus promoting the values of Others, national and foreign, giving this anthology a national and at the same time an international, universal mark. More specifically, it is colored with a European ‘flavor’. Tight sensibilities intertwine here, similar tastes, “choices by kinship…” On the pages of this anthology the verses by Shakespeare, Torquato Tasso, Prevert, Desnos, Neruda, Lorca, Pessoa, Yesenin, Tsvetaeva, Ritsos, Amichai, Levchev, Carol Ann Duffy are “making love:…so are those of Konstanin Miladinov, Blaze Koneski, Ante Popovski, Petre M. Andreevski, Vlada Urosevic, Igor Isakovski, Jessy Blaze, and many others.
It is well-known that love was given a new form by German romanticists, by the French knights and troubadours before them who, in fact, only re-shaped the echoes of the emotions of the Arabic conquerors of Spain. Exactly the Arabs were considered the most refined lovers in the world ever since the stories in One Thousand and One Nights. What is happening in the Arab world today? War, instead of love. Apparently, today’s world (not only the Arab one), needs reminding of the little forgotten ideal of the hippie movement from the 60ties promoted in the name of freedom saying: “Make love, not war!” Have we today, us modern barbarians, have we lost faith in not only love, but in the art of expressing it?! Has cynicism maybe replaced romance in the hearts of people living today?! “The history of love is not some decisive turn towards a greater freedom, it is above all a sort of a tide, flow or a vortex, with periods of quietening” – reckons Theodor Zeldin (Zeldin, 2006: 90). Maybe today, love is just fluid (as Sigmund Bauman says in the eponymous study), because we are living in a fluid, modern society ourselves?!
It is true that only love and art are capable of standing up to the general entropy which rules in the outside world. That is why we love the signs sent to us by art and love, because we as well have the need for love and art. And art, the real one, the art of poetry in particular, is abundantly present within the pages of this anthology.
The honor to make the selection for this anthology belonged to an array of authors from Aleksandar Kujundziski to Tatjana Gromaca. Unfortunately, mentioning all of them is a “mission impossible” in this occasion. What is interesting, is the background of the included poets from almost all European countries: from Greece on the south to Ireland and Iceland on the north, and from Turkey on the east, to Spain (The Canary Islands) and Portugal on the west. This anthology draws the geographic map of Europe, it is a Europe in a nutshell, or a poetic Europe and maybe the most sophisticated one, united through love. Because one loves the same in Macedonian or in Gaelic, in Turkish and in French. And all of us, no matter whether we are Macedonian, Spanish or Romanian, German or Russian, we are all “beggars of love” as our doyen Blaze Koneski says in one of his poems. It is the same, almost painful yearning that Georg Heym expressed in the verse:
“Love, love, where are you?
Where are you, I love to love you.”
Undoubtedly, love promotes a true humanism of the greatest kind.
Love and poetry are two twin sisters. “Poetry is made in bed, just as love” – says Andre Breton in the Ars-poetical poem “On the road to San Romano”.
“As the body
the words tremble on paper”
– would add Tomaz Salamun. The signs poetry (and art in general) is sending us, by the analogy of the signs sent to us by love, liberate us from the responsibility to interpret them; we can get lost in the signs, as a condition to start enjoying the read, actually, just like in love. Love, like poetry and art as a whole (music in particular) is probably the most universal language in the world.
“It is not a word.
It is the world you are walking through without stopping
flying towards life”
– according to the words of the Spanish poet Cecilia Alvarez Gonzales.
The anthology “Two love poems, please!” represents a genuine, poetic, love feast, prepared not by the grand Plato, but by the cultural center “Antolog”. With love for love, I reply to the verses of the anthology with verses, to beauty with beauty, and with the “tense” beauty the surrealists once dreamed of as a real counterpart of life. I chose three verses (in the spirit of the triad poetry-music-love I started my discourse about the anthology “Two love poems, please!”) by our poet Bogomil Gjuzel, from his debut collection “Mead” (published in 1962). Here are the verses:
“Who’s playing? – the water
who’s blossoming – the snow
who’s travelling? – the beast of love.”
- Бодлер, Шарл. 19 „Опивајте се“, во: Златна книга на француската поезија (избор, препев и придружни текстови: Влада Урошевиќ). Скопје, Детска радост, стр. 1
- Бауман, Зигмунд. 20 Флуидна љубов (превод: Василка Пемова). Скопје, Слово.
- Дај две, љубовни: антологија на нашите омилени песни од автори од Европа: љубов. 20 (Концепт: Жарко Кујунџиски, реализација: Кристина Велевска). Скопје, Антолог.
- Ѓузел, Богомил. 20 Котвата на рамо (избрани песни 1), Избрани дела, том Скопје, Независни писатели на Македонија.
- Zeldin, Teodor. 20 Intimna istorija čovečanstva. Beograd, Geopoetika (prevod: Robert Rakočević, Olga Sabo).
- Kristeva, Julija. 20 “Pohvala ljubavi”, vo: Ljubavne povesti (prevod: Mira Žiberna). Sremski Karlovci, Novi Sad, Izdavačka knjižarnica Zorana Stojanovića, str. 7-
- Фром, Ерих. 20 Уметноста на љубовта (превод: Катерина Лазаревска). Скопје, Ѓурѓа