MIRELA IVANOVA (b. 1962) is the author of over ten books of poetry, prose and journalistic publications, among which “Memory for Details”, “Dismantling of the Toys”, “Eclecticisms”, “Slowly”, “All Stories Are for You” and the most recent “SEVEN. Poems with Biographies”. She is the recipient of the National Award “Hristo G. Danov” for her contribution to Bulgarian literature, as well as of the European Award for Contemporary Poetry “Hermann Lenz”. Her works have appeared in a number of anthologies of Bulgarian poetry, both in Bulgaria and abroad, as well as on the pages of major newspapers such as Die Zeit, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Hürriyet, and Gazeta Wyborcza. They have been translated into over ten languages – English, German, French and Farsi to name but a few, and the “Wunderhorn” publishing house in Heidelberg has published two of her collections – “A Lonely Game” and “Reconciliation with the Cold”. Mirela Ivanova has held readings in Berlin, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, London, Oxford, Brussels, Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest, and many other European cities. She has also participated in a number of renowned literary forums, such as Writing Europe, Poetry of the Neighbours, Poetry in the City, and Documenta. In 2008, Mirela Ivanova was awarded a one-year writer’s grant from the Bavarian Ministry of Culture to work at the International Artists’ House Villa Concordia, Bamberg. She is currently working as an in-house playwright at the National Theatre “Ivan Vazov” in Bulgaria.
I will come up with many names for you
diminutive down to the last –
Darling Zephyr, Little Dice, Doodle –
melting in the mouth like cotton candy.
Because sunset is looming,
Translated by Dessislava Nikolova
How would you describe the relationship between literature and the city?
Several years ago, I participated in a large-scale international project – Poetry in the City. In central places in seven German and Austrian cities, on huge billboards were displayed poems by seven German-speaking poets alongside seven poets from the United States, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and three other countries that I cannot recall right now. At the press conference in Hamburg, it crossed my mind to say that poetry is like a cat – it has seven lives. I think that the same applies to literature and its various manifestations in the city, from the people who read on the public transportation to those particular books, which recreate the nature and the dimensions of city life. Let us not forget that there is an entire literary mode, the urbanistic one. Figuratively speaking, literature is the soul of the city, the spirit of urban life.
What do you think would be the best setting for a poetry reading in the city?
My passion for daydreaming tells me that a nice poetry reading could happen on a spring night, at a café in the middle of a park, or at a bar that could even be called “Poetry”, somewhere in the open, under the shining night sky.
Which letter is the scariest?
It seems to me that there are no scary letters, but only scary words and scary people.
What particular ending of a poem is your favourite?
My most favourite ending is perhaps the one, which often runs through my mind – the ending of the poem “Motherland” by Peyo Yavorov: “And I have you – to be alone among the multitudes.”
Translated by Krassimira Dzhisova