ISBN# 9781950268481 (5.75 x7.7 paperback)
Tomaž is an extended poem assembled by Joshua Beckman from his recorded conversations with one of the foundational figures of the Eastern European avant-garde, Tomaž Šalamun. This book includes photographs and translated original poems throughout, some of which are presented for the first time in English, as it covers the first forty years of Šalamun’s life in his own words.
Guided by the intuitive hand of longtime translator Joshua Beckman, this delicate dance of denial and privilege across the stages of Yugoslav communism and American capitalism under the shadow of fascism and WWII spins a mythopoesis of encounters with friends, lovers, and guides in art.…In contemporary poetry, Šalamun's legacy endures like a watermark, guiding poets and poetry like a daytime moon.
—Ana Božičević, NPR
Tomaž offers an inspiring model for becoming a poet, with an insouciance that makes congenial a serious dedication to poetry and with the grace to thrive in a now-lost world of avant-garde bohemias.
—David Woo, Harriet Books (Poetry Foundation)
Joshua Beckman is a poet, translator, and editor in chief of Wave Books. He is the author of many books of poetry, most recently Animal Days (Wave 2021) and Some Mechanical Poems to be Read Aloud (Fonograf 2020). His translation of Poker (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004) by Tomaž Šalamun, was a finalist for the PEN America Poetry in Translation Award.
The author of more than forty poetry collections, with more than a dozen in English translation, Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun (July 4, 1941–December 27, 2014) is considered to be one of the most prominent poets of the Eastern European avant-garde. He published his first collection, Poker, in 1966 at the age of twenty-five. Early in his career, he edited the literary magazine Perspektive, for which he was briefly jailed on political charges. He later studied Art History at the University of Ljubljana before attending the University of Iowa and then becoming a Fulbright Fellow at Columbia University. After, he was invited to exhibit his work at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970, Šalamun lived for periods of time in the United States, working as the Slovenian Cultural Attaché in the 1990s and later teaching at a number of American universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Alabama. Celebrated through many accolades, he was the recipient of the prestigious Jenko Prize and Slovenia’s Prešeren and Mladost Prizes. Šalamun passed away on December 27, 2014, in Ljubljana.
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