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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 32 | volume VI | May-June, 2003



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 32May-June, 2003
Essays

Celebration of the Impossible

Testimony and Vision in my Ars Poetica


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p. 1
Aleš Debeljak

    I, me and myself: the eternal burden and occasional pleasure of focusing on the self in poetic utterings is a trans-historical legacy of highest order. It has little to do with particular stylistic periods in a refinement of poetry and refuses to be seen as merely a fruit of modernity. While it is true that only in post-Rennasisance culture in humanist Europe does the self  become a central pillar of artistic work, it was since the time of ancient pre-Socratics that the self was present in its explorations of cosmos. Pre-Socratic engagement with the personal which is at the same time social, metaphors that reach in mineralogy, mythology and astronomy with equal veracity, easy blending of diverse genres in a writers' pursuit of ideal balance of good, beautiful and true: this is for me an inspiring literary dowry when I attempt to weave my way through verses read, rivers crossed, books of poems published. This is for me a legacy with which I am stounchly obssesed even though I am aware of its vaguely absurd tinge.
    The self, then, my self was discovering alone, during my high-school years in a hometown of Ljubljana, that power and curse of the language for which we have no better term than that of poetic ambiguity. Without living mentors and surrounded only with characters and stories from books, my reluctant explorations guided me to a commitment to inspired if not even conspirative community of poets regardless of national tradition or linguistic idiom in which they wrote. I see poets, however, not as unacknowledged legislators, as was still Shelley's desire, but “only” as visionary witnesses of the world as it used to be, it is and it will be: witnesses of the universal core of every human experience. This community, on the one hand wrapped in the sound of the fateful Orphean lyre, while on the other hand mercifully embracing an anonymous high-school student as he tentatively responds to the imperative of a white paper sheet and the sweet pain in his young soul, this community would not be possible if it was not grounded in a Tertulian's absurd belief in the transcendent authority of lyrical revelation.
    We who want to believe that one single convincingly wrought elegy will be able to lament not only the historical present, but will be chanted by women who are yet to be born, we write in a subdued and perhaps not


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