Barbara Korun, born in 1963 in Ljubljana, is a leading figure in the generation of radical young women poets writing in Slovenia. She is the author of Ostrina miline (‘The Edge of Grace’, Mladinska Knjiga, 1999), for which she received the National Book Fair Award for a debut collection. Her other collections of poetry and prose poems are Zapiski iz podmizja (‘Notes from under the Table’, Apokalipsa, 2003) and Razpoke (‘Fissures’, Nova Revija, 2004). A small chapbook in English, Chasms, appeared from Poetry Miscellany Publications, UT Chattanooga USA, in 2003, and a selected book of her poems in English, Songs of Earth and Light (Southword Editions, 2005) just came out in Ireland in the translation of Theo Dorgan.
Korun’s work has been published in many anthologies and reviews, in twelve languages. She works on the editorial boards of the literary journals Apokalipsa and Nova Revija.
to Christian Bobin
Language — river, pool under shade of spruce.
I lie on the bottom, on sand, the water
laying me. I look at it, I look through it
at sun and at shadow.
It cools me, it soothes and it saddens,
Language like water, to make cool.
The body, as Bobin says, made light,
the soul burned to transparency —
just so. This takes my breath away,
it’s all too big, too much…
I nurse, I absorb, I knead sweetness
into the soul’s body. He strokes my hair,
my face, my breasts, spills gently
across my hips like a spreading palm.
Language — words, rhythms, pulse of the heart.
The Moon Will Cover Me
I have two animals,
A red one and a blue one.
When the blue one drinks,
the red one goes rushing about —
and vice versa.
I never can catch them, torn as I am
between the resting one and the rushing one.
I float a thought for bait,
far, far out over the plain.
They take no notice,
their snouts sniffing the infinite.
I will lay myself down in the long grass,
close to a well, and sink into sleep.
The moon will cover me.
They will come in the morning
with the first horizontal light,
tired, sweaty, foam on their muzzles.
Then we will go together to drink water.
Oh so quietly, oh so infinitely quietly
it makes itself heard, this tiny keening hurt,
pecking at me by day,
flooding through me at night
when everyone is sleeping,
breaking me down slowly
into common dust.
I sleep over the fissure;
sharp edges press against
my soul my heart my sex,
my warm breath pours
into the chasm,
a file of black ants.
o my thousand lives!
Now, now I breathe deep
the intoxicating breath
of all that is.
from a gravid sky
words are sifting
Again the stars
rotate the sky of evening;
the age-old patience
of the hills;
svncope of the heart,
a beat & it begins.
Deep in the petals
the shadows deepen
and stand clear.
My mother is sleeping, white in the whiteness, a white face
with white wrinkles, white with softness. White time shreds
into white flakes. The moment swells with whiteness. The
voice falls, falls away into silence.
My mother is sleeping, white bed in a white room. White
patches of time nibble at her face. Whiteness. What should
I do with my red heart in a white room~ Blood, even before
it falls, is absorbed in whiteness. Blood falls away, time falls
away into the whitetiess white,
Translation by – Theo Dorgan, He is a poet and lives in Dublin