22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Luljeta Lleshanaku

Luljeta Lleshanaku is regarded as one of the leading representatives of recent Albanian lyric poetry.  She was born in Elbasan, Albania.  Her family, who during the time of the communist dictatorship were members of the political opposition, suffered heavy repression.  Therefore, Luljeta Lleshanaku grew up during the regime of  Enver Hoxhas in a kind of house-arrest and, as a daughter of dissidents, was not until the early nineties allowed to attend a university or publish her poems.  After the fall of the dictatorship she studied Albanian philology at the University of Tirana.

Luljeta Lleshanaku published her first volume of poems, ‘The Eyes of Somnambulist’ in 1993.  She was the chief editor of the magazine ‘The Voice of Youth’ and wrote for ‘Drita’, one of the oldest and most important literary magazines in Albania.  She is currently working for the newspaper ‘Rlindja’ and translates mainly the poems of the American poet John Ashbery into Albanian.

Lleshanaku has published five collections of poetry which have received high critical acclaim.  The volume entitled ‘The Bells of Sunday’ published in 1994, was awarded in 1996 the international lyric poetry prize of the American periodical ‘Vision’. The collection ‘Half-Cubism’ (1997) won the Albanian ‘Eurolilindja-Prize’ for lyric poetry.  Her poems were published in anthologies of contemporary lyric poetry in Germany, Austria and France as well as in the Italian-Albanian collection entitled  ‘Mediterraneo 1’. In the USA a selection of her poems to date were published in a collection entitled ‘Fresco: Selected Poetry’ in 2002.

Lleshanaku belongs to the first ‘post-totalitarian’ generation of Albanian lyricists who have left behind that socialist realism which art was forced to contain up to the early nineties and who have breathed new life into Albanian lyric poetry.  Her American publisher writes: “Her poems carry the burden of her past and theat of her country”, and testifies to her secure, quiet, but at the same time deliberately rough-edged language.  Eliot Weinberger describes the author as “a child who paid for the political sins of her grandparents in Hoxha´s Albania; a young poet who seems to have been writing for a hundred years in a language that’s only been written for a hundred years; an erotic poet in the ruins of a state; Luljeta Lleshanaku is the real thing, and as unexpected as an oasis behind a mountain on the moon.”

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