Nov 302010
 














Poems from Privanje na svetlobo (Adjusting to the Light)

By Andrej Hočevar

Translated by Andrej Hočevar and Kelly Lenox


Kelly Lenox is a poet, translator and Vermont College of Fine Arts graduate. Some of you have attended the VCFA summer residencies in Slovenia where Kelly has been the boots-on-the-ground facilitator and interpreter for ages. DG particularly recalls a day he and Kelly spent wandering around Venice together during the 2008 residency. She was a delightful Virgil to dg’s Dante, though, as dg recalls, Kelly was nearly as lost as he was. In part because of her connection with Slovenia through VCFA, Kelly has made something of a specialty of discovering Slovenian poetic talent. Herewith, a series of poems by the young Slovenian poet Andrej Hočevar.

Don’t miss these poems. There are some lovely, heart-breaking lines:

I re-stack the books, I lie on the sofa,
my presence only thickening the dark,
my stillness but a thing among things.

And this:

I drink another glass of wine
out of another glass. Where are you.
There is a new color forming as the birds
breathe with the evening. Where are you.
I don’t know how to put this; I mean,
look, how I struggle with myself
for you to see me at all.

Born in 1980 in Maribor, Hočevar has published four books of poetry. He also writes essays and reviews of books and music, is a member of the editorial board of the Literatura magazine, and plays bass guitar in the rock group Mrtvi psi. His poems have been translated into Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian, Italian, Hungarian, English and German.

dg


Untitled

Meja med mano in zrakom se je
dvignila čez vrhove dreves, zdaj je
oddaljenost dneva najbolj otipljiva.
nebo je narobe obrnjeno jezero,
naježene veje, ke jih bo zdaj
zdaj pogoltila tema, stojijo
pokončno kot moški v osemdesetih.
Danes je rojstni dan mojega deda
in nov letni čas mi k nogam polaga
stare užitke, v katere začenjam
spet verjeti. A dnevi so zdaj kratki,
zato začnemo hitreje misliti
na tistega, s komer jih želimo končati.


Untitled

The border between me and the air
has risen above the treetops—
the remoteness of the day at its most tangible.
The sky is an inverted lake,
the bristled branches, soon to be
swallowed by the dark,
stand upright like a man in his eighties.
Today is my grandfather’s birthday
and the new season brings me
old pleasures I’m beginning to believe in once again.
But the days are short now
and so it is earlier when we begin
thinking of the person
we want to end them with.


Drugi obisk

Iz sobe
brez okna
sem se preselil
v sobo
s slabim približkom
okna—
makedonske ceste
so pnonči
slabo osvetljene,
podnevi
ne skrivajo
revščine:
na poljih
pozabljeni žarijo
prezreli paradižniki.
Poln sem dvomov.

Second Visit


I moved
from a room
with no window
to a room
with a poor excuse
for a window—
in Macedonia the roads
at night
are badly lit,
in daylight
they do not hide
the poverty:
overripe tomatoes
shine, forgotten
in the fields.
I’m plagued by doubt.

Velikodušnost


Napisal sem izmišleno notico:
kaj sem ti pustil v hladilniku, kje imaš
sveže perilo, zakaj je na mizi vino
–ne moti me, da v resnici
ne bom odpotoval nikamor.
Prekladam knjige, ležim na zofi
in s svojo prisotnostjo zgoščam temo:
moje megibnost je stvar med stvarmi.
Ne, zares me jezi to, da se mesec
še ni pomaknil čez hišo na to stran,
čeprav je dvorišče mokro
od mesečine in stara jablana
za sabo pušča dolge vlažne sence.
Vem. zjutraj bo spet vse isto, zakaj
mesečeva velikodušnost je
tiha in hladna.


Generosity

I wrote an imaginary note:
what I’d left for you in the fridge,
where to find the clean laundry,
why there was wine on the table—
It’s alright that I’m not
going away.
I re-stack the books, I lie on the sofa,
my presence only thickening the dark,
my stillness but a thing among things.
No, what really bothers me is that
the moon has not yet crept
over the building to this side,
yet the backyard is wet
with moonlight and the old apple tree
is leaving long, moist shadows.
I know that tomorrow it will all be
the same again—the moon’s generosity
is quiet and cold.

Drugi kozarec vina


Sneg je pobralo prehitro;
na vse pritiska teža odpiranja.
Po vlažnih tleh razsute dneve
bomo morali prešteti in odtajati,
dokler se ne napijemo:
zdaj bomo plesali s strtimi grli.
Drugi kozarec vina pijem
iz drugega kozarca. Kje si.
Pravkar tukaj nastraja nov odtenek in
ptice dihajo z večerom. Kje si.
Ne vem, kako bi rekel; to pomeni,
glej, kako se borim proti sebi,
da me sploh lahdo vidiš.
Ne verjamem več porazom—
stvari mi še vedno uhajajo iz rok.


Another Glass of Wine

The snow left too soon and the weight
of budding presses down on everything.
The days, scattered on the damp floor,
will have to be counted and melted
until we get drunk:
we are going to dance with shattered throats.
I drink another glass of wine
out of another glass. Where are you.
There is a new color forming as the birds
breathe with the evening. Where are you.
I don’t know how to put this; I mean,
look, how I struggle with myself
for you to see me at all.
For I have lost faith in defeat—
things are still slipping out of my hands.

—Poems by Andrej Hočevar, translated by Andrej Hočevar and Kelly Lenox

(Kelly Lenox photo by Jody Leonard)

  3 Responses to “Poems by Andrej Hočevar, translated from Slovenian by Andrej Hočevar & Kelly Lenox”

  1. I really appreciate the distilled gravity of these poems—especially since they are coming from a young poet around the age of 30. The Slovene aesthetic, it seems to me anyhow, often articulates this special brand of lucidity–it’s like a shadow describing a shadow: these poems offer the ghostly essence of a fragilely perceived existence. I am reminded of Srecko Kosevel.

  2. I like to imagine how the Slovene sounds. I imagine the musicality of the language itself—the tough consonants, the vibrating dipthongs, the throaty vowels—speak of the hardship that the English translations so gracefully unlock.

  3. Kelly, these are so beautiful and haunting that i want to read them again and again. The language is deceptively plain but packed with meaning and emotion.

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