By Acad. Dmytro O. Chystiak,European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University

Looking from the contemporary perspective, European poetry undergoes a difficult period that symbolizes the transformation of paradigm.

After the hermetic tradition of the sixties and the postmodern experimentation we can observe a tendency where predominates the narrative verse. We could even find the exaggerated versions of this tendency in the more and more popular slam competitions of poetry where the philosophical and imaginative visions are supplied by performances that join emotional suggestive influence with some socially oriented (rather sarcastic then humanistic) discourse.

But at the same time we are discovering some tendencies that restore the (meta)modernistworldview, producing and interpreting some neo-mythological poetic landscapes where we would discover the antidote against a playful negation of humanistic values and against the fading hermetic abstractive thinking cut from any metaphysical background.

My vision of the contemporary Albanian and Kosovar poetry discovered by my great friend and a prominent European poet Jeton Kelmendi gives the opportunity to consider it as a very interesting tradition that could make a considerable influence on the development of poetry in Europe. The region of Balkans is well-known for its poetic resources. International Poetry festival in Struga gathered for decades the most prominent and perspective poets from all over the world. Names of Ismail Kadare, Ali Podrimja and Azem Shkreli are appreciated very far from their motherland. That is a pleasure therefore to present to English-speaking audience one of the new interesting voices of this rich culture, the book of Bujar Tafa, Anthem of quiet thoughts.

In fact, the title itself seems to be ambivalent. It mixes the epic, national, passionate, traditional with meditative, abstract, symbolic and contemplative vision of the world generated by the worldview of the author. In fact, we find this tendency through the whole book. Poems by Bujar Tafa are socially oriented, pathetic and emphatic, they seem to convince our reader to renew with the lost humanistic values in our digitalized world where the images are attacking the individuality and much of emotional experience degenerates to copying the stereotypical patterns of behavior.

But we find also another tendency, that seems for me particularly characteristic for Albanese and Kosovar poetry (and that I noticed already in my articles about the poetry of Jeton Kelmendi): the permanent tension and attention to mythological, folkloric substratum of the poetic narrative. This substratum generates not only a special gallery of imagery that makes Tafa’s work interesting for the amateurs of poetry but also helps the author to find not only his stylistic peculiarities but also his ethical (and axiological) orientation. Tafa’s ethos is in harmony with these patters of mythological values that seem to be relevant for the contemporary lyrical hero as well as for his readers.

Moreover, this ethos is harmonizing the chaotic universe where the personages are acting (sometimes tragically or dramatically). The reader should undergo a catharsis to gain the Cosmos, to become a creator of his own worldview gaining a mythical potential of medium between different aspects of reality, both logical and non-conscious. On this level of abstraction we understand that the pathetic potential of Tafa’s poetry acquires a new dimension: nomination becomes creation, logics becomes ethics, mythical substratum could give an impulse to transform the reader’s horizon offering a chance to escape from the material world to the fictional narration where cosmos could triumph against the chaos and the poetry (like in Ancient times, from Homer to Dante) conducts the reader from the contemporary hells to esoteric visions of Eden.

Kyiv, 09 June 2019


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