(Bogomil Gjuzel “Bundle”, Magor, Skopje, 2002)
#1 Hardly that this time of would be the ‘time of the words’ or of the ‘moral behaviour’. We would better say that this time we live in, is more a time of ‘mocking the words’, a ‘raping’ of the word ethics and poetics. Somehow, the word comes out as a secondary addition, a decoration in service of the skillfully managed marketing by the financial capital and the politic. The writings of wisdom and virtues are being banished from ‘the stage’, upon which the powers of the profit govern, and the language of the violence and arms prevails. But anyway, we just can’t deprive of the power of the ‘word’, because it is the last mean of the individual and creative hope. In the grasps of the epochal crisis, some of us still write down our own – small or big – messages, like some gods with which one can enterprise his own inevitable journey, with or without return.
What the book of intellectual critics “Bundle” by Bogomil Gjuzel consists, and why title like this one above?
”The word ‘Bundle’ means the variety of contents, objects, necessities, etc., which can be carried on as a personal (life) baggage, as their owner/author can personally gather and transfer/migrate from the literary periodicals into one book… Something as a removal/migration, or some kind of a personal recapitulation – or in contrary, as some kind of a presentation in front of the others, and finally – as the word ‘Bundle’ also implies: preparing (and giving) a gift”. (Gjuzel, 2002:10)
‘Bundle’ – book, ‘bundle’ – gift, ‘bundle’ – necessary baggage. Transferring of the objects of knowledge – is the same as an art of making ‘bundle’-packages. The selection and the transferring (republishing) of the texts from one medium to another, from one time to another, is the same as making ‘bundle’-packages. The writing is a constant epitomizing (rejecting of all what’s unnecessary). The letter is necessary as always – it is the on and only ‘bundle’ for the writer. The only gift for the writer is – the letter. For the writer, the letter is the only undeniably personal – baggage and gift. These are only a few of the numerous connotations provoked by the small introductory note on the latest (for now, the second) book of essays and critics by Bogomil Gjuzel.
Here gathered, strictly selected, texts – regardless of their origin date, which is within the period of whole 40 years, are united by one common characteristic: their inspiring power, their associative potential, their high spiritual energy and temporal endurance, especially of their actuality today, in the midst of the contemporary turbulent cultural and historical movements today. For this occasion, I suggest to maintain the recipients’ attention to a few of especially interesting texts.
With the immanent perspective of a ‘practicing poet’, in the essay Does the fear of writing exist? Gjuzel engages with the most delicate questions of the poetic creation, as well as with the un-temporal ‘metaphysical’ themes about the nature of the art and creation itself. He is driven by his vivid curiosity and boldness, open-mindedly asking the so-called ‘final questions’ and facing the so-called marginal speculations that reach deep into the ontology of the human creation, in spite of the deeply rooted and the all-present fear in front of the paper’s whiteness, in spite of that, most often silently avoided, fear of the writing itself, that fear of one’s personal weakness in front of the white paper page. Exactly that permanent duel with those (and those like those), equally individual, as universal and creative concerns is the name for what is called poetic existence, and that is what determines the personal charisma of every author. At the same time, that shows the character, universality and the ‘size’ of every particular author, because in that metaphysical battle with the whiteness, everyone is both – always alone and always a beginner.
In the text Embracing the Desert (1963), the author, in surprisingly (even today) contemporary manner, actualizes the question of the desert as a symbolic space and the semantic substitute for the emptiness, the issue that deeply concerns every (today’s) contemporary man. He speaks of the “flourishing of the desert in this time of ours”, and of the “the burden of the ‘desert’, falling upon human’s shoulders”. Close to the certain key-stands of the existentialistic (but no exclusively) philosophy, Gjuzel writes about the metaphysics of the desert, about the desert as a paradoxical human choice, about the all-present nature/character of the desert: “today, we live on this desert bottom in a time that we must accept as ours”. According to that, the desert is our destiny, our curse, our temptation, and even our choice, at the bottom of all things: “the desert is our soul and our home”. Here the issue from the previously mentioned essay emerges again, but more on the existential (and not only on a poetic) level: the issue about the fear from the open space, the fear in front of the almighty whiteness and uncertainty. But exactly in that kind of fear, Gjuzel discovers the source of the potent, creative and rebellious human energy: “And that unconquered desert in front of us, is teasing us and it’s driving us ahead, it is what keeps us alive – in spite of the fact that we already know that it is endless for our own possibilities”. The desert, in other words, is ours vital and fatal challenge both; it is a paradoxical symbol, at the same time the limitation and the infinity both; a symbol of our struggle with time, the struggle and the quest where we all are exposed to suffering, and to our execution, at the end… That’s why Gjuzel gives us the relativism of the history and of all (history’s) fortresses, through the prism of the desert’s metaphors: under the same threat of the desert, their “fortifications stare hollow within the time itself”.
Following the marks from this small, but deeply inner-reaching text, we also discover quite wider hermeneutic coordinates for interpretation of the desert, as a relevant and specific peak in the Gjuzel’s poetry work. This can also be said about the ‘hot’ erotic poem “Desert Woman”, in which exactly the ‘geopoetic’ of the desert finds his attractive poetical ‘nest’ – so many years (at Gjuzel’s poetry) before the time when the nomadic charisma of Kenneth White founded the geopoetics as a new poetic option. And exactly with this bold readiness for risks, the poet and the critic Gjuzel wrote down (in this text) these claims: “the desert is our soul, our home. We grasp for it examining it with our consciousness”; or “the life in the desert is cruel, but with beauty yet undiscovered”. Together with the contemporary – but also, together with the old eschatological philosophies, Gjuzel also becomes attached to the radical truth (regardless how painful it is): that in fact, we are the greatest desert and the most difficult challenge, a challenge that should be accepted and a challenge that is worthy of it.
The essay Balkan Myths and Ghouls (1995) starts with the appeal for establishing some new, different and much more equilibrated relation toward the collective unconscious, especially, in this case, toward the Dionysius’ energies that cover the Balkan since the ancient times. That relieving and at the same time, the purifying effect that is achieved through the over-saturation of the basic psychological urges in the frames of the oldest pagan rituals – according to Gjuzel – is the proof of the essential meaning that this ‘ritual collective purging’ has upon the useful/benevolent sublimation of the instinctive Id energies. But Gjuzel, with every right points at the fact that exactly the lack of these purification rituals in the contemporary human praxis (here he refers to the newer monotheistic religions, but as well to the contemporary totalitarian ideologies) urges the fatal compensation of the personal and social frustrations with the substituted myths of territory and blood. And exactly this compensation ‘with and within’ the past, encouraged by the raise of the sacrificial mentality (the counting of the dead), works efficiently instead of the creative one, diverting the negative psychical energy toward some external enemy, that allegedly ‘deserves’ someone’s hate and revenge. In the frames of this analysis, there is a significant part of the Jacque Derida’s standpoints (“Wrong Direction”), where he claims that in Europe, exactly “in the name of the identity, the most scary crimes of humanity emerge – the xenophobia, the racism and the anti-Semitism, and the religious or the national fanaticism”.
Although written before whole 10 years, the essay The Shakespeare’s ‘Storm’ in republic of Macedonia (1993) is actually more related with today’s public context here – where the rhetoric of Euro-aspirations governs. Anyway, Gjuzel, in his brilliant parabola that he establishes among the classical Shakespearean drama and our contemporary situation – places the powerful political ‘mentors’ (as for instance: EU) to be recognized in the dramaturgical role of the mentor and the wizard Prospero, and by the same logic, the native Kaliban, unrecognized in the Prospero’s world, would be the contemporary Macedonian, the one who has just began his awakening (as a subject). Finally, the storm is the exact condition that Kaliban wishes to drive Prospero in, in order to stop his devastating actions and to get him back to his ancient (or wild) state of freedom. So it isn’t unusual when many, listening to the Prospero’s aid Ariel, hear him wrong: “He says: democracy, but many hear: demography”. From this, we can notice that in the 1993, Gjuzel completely cleared the colonization effects of the EU integrations, or to be more accurate – the revived dialectics of the Master and the Slave, of special importance for the today’s actual discourse of the postcolonial studies. In that way, Gjuzel claims that the ‘contemporary Prospero’ should find the way to find the strength within himself, in order to overcome his own limits and to – forgive Kaliban. With that, he would ‘cure’ Kaliban from his ‘slavery’ deformations.
In these (and such) efforts for cultural and historical rehabilitation of the Macedonian people, in this book we can recognize the echoes from the (reprinted here) poetical Manifesto The Epic on Voting, where, with its stormy intonation, the pathos of resignation and the anarchism of rebellion interlace, as well as “the negation, the controversy and the antithesis” – “Others live on the surface of the presence, and they sleep tight at night… We are raped and ravished during the centuries, robbed by the time of life and death, from the time that burns out fast as a sparkle”.
Let’s conclude: Gjuzel is an author erudite, with a great analytical talent and very curious spirit; that’s why in his writings, the discourses of the psychoanalysis, nuclear physics and the historiography, float so easy and in accordance one with another. Gjuzel is, with no doubt, a rarely potent critic and essayist, whose deep penetrating thought – undoubtedly deserves our attention and respect. Engaged as a poet, and as an intellectual, he skillfully integrates the junctures of his complex spirituality. His long-term obsession with our ‘epochal crisis’ today, only confirms him as a serious, consequent, stoical nature and personality, a personality that hasn’t allowed any strays towards the (seemingly) luxurious daily advantages.
The anticipating powers of these gathered essays simply amazes: besides the high erudition, this author undoubtedly possesses a strong intuition to sense and foretell what’s essentially new and what its omens are. This is accurate generally, but specially on the issues of the fore-coming epochal and regional events. That’s why I must add that a book like “Bundle” should be read over and over again, always revaluing it, as a reading of many essential messages and vise advices, as an example of the eager intellectual awareness and of the high analytical talent; as an appeal to the Mind and to the Wise, and all those who, regardless to what happens around, should be constantly proud of their unique and eternal treasure: the lucidness of their minds.
In front of the Macedonian literary science is the task to re-measure and revalue the Gjuzel’s creative opus – especially in the domains of the literary critic and essays. Beside this book that represents only a segment of his wide critical engagement. And in expectation for his next critic selections and books, I do believe that in near future we’re going to get the real (integral) picture of this authentic, exciting and actual, individually imprinted and powerful critical (and essayistic) opus that with its analytical ambitions and interests showed that Gjuzel often new (very well) when he goes (or went) – before his own time – ahead.
Translated by Petar Volnarovski