When I started reading this book of poems, I could not reach its end making any pauses. However, when I finished reading these moving and exemplary poems, I could not immediately write his preface, because I found myself immerse into meditation on this author who, during his stay in different European countries, wrote these poems that made a great impact on me. I imagined him as a visitor who, from the outside, looks at himself in his history, with an enormous nostalgia for his sorrowful homeland experiencing a reality among opposites, love and war – A great love and a bloody war.
Indeed, such a dialectic of opposites is a theme repeated throughout the work. In his poem “THERE I FOUND MY RESOURCES”, he writes: On the hill, where the breath blows, / somewhere there are traces / of two nights of autumn and of our kisses […]. In many other poems he repeats: ” two loves”; “two days”; “Two nights” … “war and love” … me and the other; “Down we have the devil, God above”; two poles: “truth and falsehood”, the author experiences with impressive intensity his feeling of the opposites. All that, by squeezing his love and identity, which at times appears very clear and for others, lost in time.
I feel much honored to have had the opportunity to write the preface to this excellent and touching poetry book that surely will strongly applauded by the cultists of Latin American literature.
These poems originally written in the language of Kelmendi, an Albanian poet, were have subsequently been translated into English and from there into Spanish by the poet Ricardo Rubio.
In the introduction of a recently published anthology of Spanish and Israeli poets, [Jaime Rosa and Ernesto Kahan, Poetry without Border III, 2018: ISBN: 978-84 HUERGA FIERRO editors, Valencia 2018]; I wrote: “It is clear that in the translation of a poem, many times, is an impossible mission. Even more, when the languages of the case are structurally and culturally different and more if is a translation from an intermediate language. I such a situation, that value is a guide to the original version.”
In spite of all the inconveniences of translations, this version in Spanish language of the poetry of Jeton Kelmendi, reaches levels of beauty, and lyric that are insurmountable. His beautiful poetry transmits humanism and emotion with extraordinary impetus and perfection that impacts. His verses are very emotional that are remain for a long time in the memory of the reader.
In this collection, I extract a few examples illustrating the concepts discussed above.
From the poem “PEJA ATFIVE IN THE MORNING”, I quote some verses that express the pain for the fatherland of the author, and the death of his father:
The city is asleep, / the people and the night are asleep, / the silence rests, […] I also slept, / I even dreamed: / I saw my father leaving, […] He left behind / a free homeland, / despite of the incessant challenges of this land. […]
The same in the poem “WHERE THE WORD LOVES LIFE” […] the homeland is love itself […]
Similar thoughts in the poem “MY DESIRE IN CHAMERIA”:
[…] Welcome, brother, to Chameria, Albania. / What happens with deep roots? / My apple in Chameria … / They are fresh fruits. […]
In his pain and criticism, he accuses politicians.
From the poem “NOISE”, I take:
[…] the lie crosses the truth / with all the hustle and bustle. / Your words, words, words, / all are false. […]
In “THE FIRST LADY OF THOUGHT he wrote:
Aligned as Members of Parliament, / my thoughts / debate about the time […], at the end of the plenary session, / vote without animosity / to take the wheel of the soul. […]
Returning to the subject of supposed opposites, and especially in the main sense of this book; about war and love, Kelmendi issue deals with philosophical and emotional intensity; I get from “LOVE IN TIME OF WAR”:
[…] If you tell someone that in times of war / you want love, / your friend will think you are stupid, / but a soldier, even in the fiercest fights / never stop thinking about love, […] times of war / only God knows / the end. […]. It is know that there is love and there is war. […] Late in the night / the moon forgot / leave. […]
This poem written in November 1999, sometime during the Kosovo War
In the poem, “I WALKED BY THE WAYS OF OTHERS” expresses painful, existentialism, anxiety…
[…] The silence knocks on the door, / but today I’m not, / I’ve left, / I went very far, / away from home, / away from me, / away from me, / distances.
[…] I go alone by the way / of the others. / It’s the exit towards me / and I do not look at the ceiling
Kelmendi is neo-modernist in the formal structure of these poems. He gives to them extraordinary strength, that blow the human conscience. It expands with metaphorical repetitions, and it does so with an impressive capacity for synthesis. His poetry looks beautiful and conquering, like that of the magnificent poets.
He is an illustrated writer, well known and popular. From his CV I quote: “His poems are translated into more than twenty-seven languages and published in several international literary anthologies. He is the most translated and the best Albanian poet in Europe. According to several literary critics, Kelmendi is the genuine representative of modern Albanian poetry. Critics and international poets wrote numerous articles about him and his work, considering him as a great European poet”.
This book presents a poetry that seduces the most demanding people of literature and those who seek to meet, perhaps secretly and silently, in the lyrical spaces of the poems of this admirable writer.
It is a book of poems to read and reread slowly, delighting each verse and seeking its special human interconnection. I strongly recommend it, especially to those who seek for understand the contemporary European poetry and its connection with social and political reality.
In the future, the name of this author will be among the most important poets of the 21st century.
*Prof. Emeritus Ernesto Kahan MD. Argentine physician and poet, Dr. Honorary litt. Honour Member Royal European Academy of Doctors and member of its Editorial Board Barcelona, – Honour Member Intl. Academy of Sci., Tech., Edu. Humanities (AICTEH). – In 1976 immigrated to Israel due to Argentine dictatorship regime. – Professor at Universities: UNBA-Argentina, Tel Aviv-Israel, UCE-Dominican, UNAM-Mexico, Salamanca-Spain. – Former President of Writers in Spanish of Israel. – Vice President of IFLAC (Intl.Forum Literature and Culture for Peace). – First Vice President of the World Academy of Arts and Culture (WAAC). – Executive Co-Chairman of Union of Writers Hispano-world. – Member of Honor Vallejian Institute of Peru. – Honorary President of SIPEA – Soc Intl.Poets Writers and Artists. – Published 28 books, 40 anthologies, and over 200 investigations. – Translated into 13 languages. Schweitzer Peace Prize. – Vice president of Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Delegate to the Ceremony Nobel Peace Prize, – 2005 gold Medal WAAC “poetic excellence.” – 2006 “Best Poet” and – 2007 “Best Internet culture and poetry” by US Writers Association Intl. President of the World Congress of Poets 2012 WCP (WAAC). 2013- First Prize Intl. Prize Poetry and Narrative of Latin Am. Cultural Inst. Argentina