Photo: Svoboda Tzekova
SILVIA CHOLEVA (b. 1959) is a poet, writer, publisher and journalist. Her works include six books of poetry, her most recent one being “From the Sky to the Earth” (2015), the novel “Green & Gold” (2010), the short story collection “Goshko” (2013), two books of fragments, two plays and the script for the short movie “My Mother” (dir. Svetla Tsotsorkova). She has been granted the National Award for Poetry “Ivan Nikolov”, the National Award “Hristo G. Danov” for her contribution to the promotion of Bulgarian literature, the “Golden Age” Honorary Award of the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria, and many more. She has participated in a number of poetry festivals, and her poetry has been translated into over ten languages. Silvia Choleva hosts a radio show about culture on the Bulgarian National Radio, as well as a book review segment on the TV show Bibliotekata (The Library) on the Bulgarian National Television. She was formerly Editor-in-Chief of Altera Mazagine, co-editor of the journal for Bulgarian literature Sezon (Season), and one of the editors of Literaturen Vestnik (Literary Newspaper). She has also taught at the University of Sofia and at New Bulgarian University, and has contributed to various periodicals as a book reviewer. In 2012, together with translator Iglika Vasileva and poet Kaloyan Ignatovski, she founded a publishing house called DA (YES), which publishes exclusively poetry.
What is that city
sit on the sidewalks
gripping their heads between their hands
with medicine balls
in gym class
steeped in a sorrow
that won’t go away
even on Saturday night
in the scant light of the lamps
in the silhouettes behind the windows
on the façades along the streets
in the pointlessly cheerful crowds
the stray dogs and children
in their smell in the noise
in the cars trams buses
some people are kissing
it starts to drizzle
a firecracker pops
so many needless details
just to get through the evening
How would you describe the relationship between literature and the city?
A marriage of convenience.
What do you think would be the best setting for a poetry reading in the city?
A flash mob in 20 different places – streets, drinking establishments, administrative buildings, schools, hospitals, malls, public transportation, etc. Mostly in unusual places, and organised by volunteers.
Which letter is the scariest?
The most fearless is “ь” (the so-called “small yer” in Bulgarian which is a soundless letter) – it cannot go alone, it has no sound... As for the scariest – I have no idea.
What particular ending of a poem is your favourite?
The one left unspoken.
Translated by Krassimira Dzhisova
Translated by Ekaterina Petrova