Sunday, 8 September 2013

Blaga Dimitrova's 'Scars': the elegant visions

Scars. Poems by Blaga Dimitrova. Ivy Press Princeton, 2002.

Yet another Bulgarian poetry anthology by Ivy Press Princeton is Blaga Dimitrova's 'Scars'. To me personally Dimitrova's poetry book was more appealing than the previously reviewed selection of Konstantin Pavlov. 

Like Pavlov, during the soviet era Dimitrova was known as a dissident poet (and a socially active person: in 1992 she became the first democratically elected Vice President of Bulgaria). Her poetic style, however, is quite different from Pavlov's.

Lighter in style (although no less serious), more precise, more elegant, very articulate. Dimitrova does not talk abstract; instead she reflects on things around her, including her own body parts (hair, tongue, throat), and uses them to make philosophical statements about life, love, and the universe. Although Dimitrova is very aware of her immediate environment she is not mundane because she puts things into perspective. She notices details but does not get overwhelmed by them.

In this book, Dimitrova never gets drowned in emotion, even though some of the experiences she is talking about are among the strongest (loss; dementia of a loved one; near death experiences). The poet remains quite rational; all her emotions get distilled and rearranged into logical compositions before they land on paper as poems.

Perhaps it is also a better quality translation than the previously reviewed Pavlov's book (the translator of the both is the same: Ludmilla G. Popova-Wightman). The translator was a friend of the poet, and, possibly, because of this reason was able to understand the author's inner workings better.

'Scars' consist of five sections: Ars Poetica (poems about writing poetry); Lullaby for My Mother (mainly about the poet's mother ill with Alzheimer's; although the father is occassionally mentioned too); Love (self-explanatory); Delirium in Green (the author's near death experiences at the hospital); and Sentence (heavyish reflections on the life that has already passed).

'Scars': the poet does not like to bleed in public. She heals her wounds in privacy and all that is presented to us are her remaining scars. Here scars = poems.


I create you out of sadness 
out of loneliness 
nothingness -
to come to me.
And unnaturally,
you arrive,
as you think,
of your own free will,
not doubting it
for a moment. 

[Conjured, pg. 147]

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