The seventy-seven poems that form Meta KuA'ar's "Ljubljana" pay complex homage to her home city, the Slovenian capital. Although her vision of Ljubljana begins with places, buildings, bridges - the city the visitor sees - the poet very soon takes us to the insider's Ljubljana, a personal space alive with associations and images, rich with references. As she senses the depths and inter-connections under the city's skin, the city becomes a place of mind and memory, almost an extension of her body. At the same time, KuA'ar leads us into a wider meditation on the links between who and where we are, and between present experience and cultural heritage. In this beautifully modulated translation, and with introductory material that guides us through unfamiliar territory, the English-language reader can savour and enjoy the work of one of Slovenia's most individualistic and highly-regarded poets for the first time.
META KUSAR (author), poet and essayist, was born in Ljubljana in 1952. With four collections of poetry in print and with many poems in anthologies and literary magazines, she is one of Slovenia's most popular and successful women poets. Her latest collection 'Jaspis' (Jasper) was published by Apokalipsa in 2008 and a selection has since been translated into German. 'Ljubljana' was tranlated into Slovak in 2008. Her most recent publication is a book of interviews with a range of prominent Slovene artists she has interviewed over the last decade.Since 1980 she has regularly contributed to the Slovene National Radio and the RAI-Trieste with cultural and historical talks. Occasionally she writes film scripts and directs them and she has also directed a musical performance of her poetry, 'The Throne of Poetry', which was staged in Slovenia, Washington (1991) and London (2000). ANA JELNIKAR (co-translator) was born in Slovenia in 1975 and shared her education between London and Ljubljana. She has recently completed her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London researching the links between the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore and the Slovenian poet Srecko Kosovel. She translates into both Slovene and English and co-translated Arc's anthology 'Six Slovenian Poets', and her co-translation with Barbara Siegel Carlson of Srecko Kosovel's 'Look Back Look Ahead' was published by Ugly Duckling Presse (New York) in 2010. STEPHEN WATTS (co-translator) is a poet, editor & translator, with family roots in the Italian Alps. He lives in Whitechapel. He twice won second prize in the National Poetry Competition (1983 and 1992). Recent books of his own work include 'Gramsci & Caruso' (2004), 'The Blue Bag' (2005), 'Mountain Language / Lingua di montagna' (2009), 'The Language Of It' (DVD 2007), and a video-poem 'Journey To My Father' (2009). He edited Amarjit Chandan's 'Sonata For Four Hands' (2010) and has co-translated poetry by A. N. Stencl (2007), Ziba Karbassi (2009), Adnan al-Sayegh (2009) and Meta Kusar (2010). He has worked extensively as a poet in schools and hospitals in East London and in 2006 worked with HI-Arts in Inverness on social issues of suicide and survival. In 2007 he was awarded an Arts Council grant for his writing and research and at present is completing a new edition of 'Mother Tongues' (Bloodaxe Books, due 2012) which anthologises some of the many fine poets in the UK who write in languages other than English. He is also completing an extensive on-line bibliography of modern poetry in English translation. FRANCIS R. JONES (introducer) studied Serbo-Croat and German at Cambridge University, modern Yugoslav poetry at Sarajevo University (1977-78), and language learning / teaching methodology at Reading and Newcastle University. He is now a senior lecturer at Newcastle University, where he teaches translation studies, and researches the role of the poetry translator as creative rewriter and socio-political actor. He has published fifteen solo-translated volumes of poetry translations, mainly from Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian into English, but also from Dutch, Hungarian and Russian. He has also translated from French, German, Papiamento and Sranan, and into Northumbrian and Yorkshire dialect. He has been winner or runner-up for nine solo or team translation prizes in the UK, the USA, the Netherlands and Bosnia.