Kamelia Spassova in translation


as soon as I saw

the dedication

a ritual and baptismal certificate

I wished

that I had written the book

the table of contents also impressed me

with its clarity of expression

the layout itself

its order and certain witty phrases

for a long time I searched for my name

on the cover

but in its place, carved out in a large font was:

we’ve buried the authors in the footnotes

a gathering for the aggrieved

5 p.m. on page 5


when we interchange

the latin alphabet with the cyrillic

we change identities

we attune ourselves to the timetable

to the weather forecast to the jury

and other inevitable circumstances

we’ve gone over to monkey-o-glyphics [1]

so as to understand ourselves

we’ve regressed, rebooted

now we’re waiting for a banana

so we can continue

to vegetate

to give ourselves meaning

as only we know how

and to keep on with

our monkey business

[1] Bulgarians use the term majmunitsa or “monkey-o-glyphics” to refer to the strings of gibberish that appear when a program cannot correctly read a font, as frequently happens with Cyrillic fonts.

Plot № 17

my reserved seat

is a noah’s ark

built in case of

unexpected storms, hurricanes

or whatever kind of natural disaster

I keep a blank sheet of paper there

sharp pencils and books

left to be read

in another lifetime

            I have everything I need

            to continue your existence

            and to be together with

            your absence

I bury the letters deep within me

and wait for them to sprout

I wait for the terrible thing to pass

just don’t forget, I keep telling myself,

just don’t forget, to dig yourself up

in the tongue

with pits in their tongues

children laugh

and quickly swallow

whatever comes along

everything is so simple

when the joints are soft

they don’t wait, don’t hold back

nor bite nor chew

they just stick their tongues out at you sometimes

and if you are careful enough

you can catch a glimpse

of how the pit slowly

swells up


Translated by
Angela Rodel


'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.


Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.


At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.