Winner of the 2011 Best Translated Book of the Year Award Winner of the 2011 Award for The Best Literary Translation into English from the AATSEEL
Translated from the Polish with an Introduction by Brian Henry
From his first book of poems, Chessboards of Hours, published in 1995 when he was 22 years old, Aleš Šteger has been considered one of Slovenia’s most promising poets. That promise has been unleashed over the course of a decade and a half, through three more books of poetry (Kashmir, Protuberances, and The Book of Things), a fictional travelogue in Peru (January in the Middle of Summer), and a collection of lyric essays (Berlin), which received an award for being the best book of essays written in Slovenian. The philosophical and lyrical sophistication of his poems, along with his work as a leading book editor and festival organizer, earned Šteger a reputation that quickly traveled beyond the borders of Slovenia. The international reach of his work seems appropriate considering its international concerns and refusal to acknowledge limits to, or boundaries of, art, thought, and even genre. Although grounded in and growing from his home country, Šteger’s work in multiple genres and on many fronts testifies to his growing stature as one of Central Europe’s most essential literary figures.
The workers left. Your best friend
Stopped alone in the middle of a half-scraped plot.
As if she would want to work without a break.
She already dug up so much of the world, not seeing
That the soil does not end beneath the soil
And that the deeper the dig, the harder it is for a little shovel.
Will she dig up some insight?
Butterflies’ bones, coins of saliva, the tongue of a mute?
Is her calling her only purpose?
So that she distracts herself on quiet evenings,
Like one who stares at eh thickening darkness through a window,
Which stares through the thickening darkness in oneself.
Publication Date: October 19, 2010
© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2010