December 9, 2008

Vasko Popa

Vasko Popa (Yugoslavia/ now Serbia)

Vasko Popa was born in Grebenac in the Banat district of Yugoslavia, now Serbia to a family of mixed Serbian and Romanian extraction. He studied literature at the universities of Vienna, Bucharest, and Belgrade, and received his degree in 1949. During World War II, he supported the partisans, and was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis.

His first collection, Kora (Bark), was published in 1953, to a negative response by readers and critics unreceptive to Yugoslav modernization. His second book, Nepočin-polje (Unrest-Field) and subsequent titles, along with the work of Popa's friend Miodrag Pavlović, were major influences on Serbian contemporary writing. Beginning with concrete images, Popa's poetry functioned to create surreal narratives that had larger, abstract concepts as their goal. In that sense, Popa's affinity to the folk tradition is apparent, but his major influence in French surrealism, which renders his work highly experimental within the Serbian context.

Among his other titles are Sporedno nebo (1968, The Secondary Heaven), Vučja so (1975, Wolf Salt), and Mala kutija (The Little Box, 1970).

Popa came to the forefront of international poetry in 1970s, and traveled widely. He also edited anthologies, one of folk writing and another of Serbian humor.


Kora (Belgrade: Novo pokolenje, 1953); Neopočin-polje (Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 1956); Od zlata jabuka (1958); Pesme (Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga, 1965); Sporedno nebo (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1968); Pesme (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1968); Pesme (Novi Sad: Srpska književna zadruga, 1971); Uspravna zemlja (Belgrade: Vuk Karadžić, 1975); Vućja so (Belgrade: Vuk Karadžić, 1975); Živo meso (Belgrade: Vuk Karadžić, 1975); Kuća nasred druma (Belgrade: Vuk Karadžić, 1975); Pesme (Belgrade: BIGZ, 1978); Rez (Novi Sad: Vojvodjansk Akademija nauka i umetnosti, 1982); Pesme (Belgrade: Nolit, 1988); Dela (8 volumes) (Belgrade: Nolit, 1980-1981)


Selected Poems, trans. by Anne Pennington, introduction by Ted Hughes (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969): The Little Box, trans. by Charles Simic (Washington, D.C.: The Charioteer Press, 1970); Earth Erect, trans. by Anne Pennington (London: Anvil Press, 1973/Iowa City: University of Iowa International Writing Program, 1973); Collected Poems 1943-1976, trans. by Anne Pennington, with an Introduction by Ted Hughes (Manchester: Carcanet, 1978/New York: Persea, 1979); The Blackbird's Field: A Poem by Vasko Popa, trans. by Anne Pennington (Oxford: Mid-Day Publications, 1979); Homage to the Wolf: Selected Poems 1956-1975, trans. by Charles Simic (Oberlin: The Field Translation Series, 1979; revised 1987); The Golden Apple (1980); in The Horse Has Six Legs: An Anthology of Serbian Poetry, trans. by Charles Simic (St. Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 1992); Collected Poems, trans. by Anne Pennington; revised and expanded by Francis R. Jones (London: Anvil Press, 1997)

No comments: