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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 74 | volume XIII | September-October, 2010



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 74September-October, 2010

Kolenič and His Inspirations

p. 1
John Minahane

A few years ago I was asked to translate an extract from Ivan Kolenič's new novel Say Goodbye to Poetry. I realised instantly that I was up against the peculiar literary being known as the Accursed Poet. Taken as a type, in English-speaking countries the Accursed Poet is one of the most popular poets of all. The largest poetic gathering I have ever seen was in the RDS Main Hall in Dublin, a huge auditorium otherwise used for conferences of major political parties, Tina Turner concerts and the like; on this unique occasion it was packed to the doors for a poetry reading by the Most Accursed American, Allen Ginsberg. It is paradoxical that, while the Accursed Poet despises conventional society, conventional society, which normally despises poetry, treats the Accursed Poet with something like respect. To a certain extent it recognises his calling. As if representing society he publicly drinks himself into a stupor, takes exotic drugs, has scandalous relationships, lives on the brink of lunacy, suffers excruciating torment, and in the end hopefully gathers the flowers of his evils, poetry. Respectable society at the very least takes an interest. Ultimately perhaps it is even grateful – not counting those respectable people who happen to be the Accursed Poet's relations.
    But what sort of mind does he have, this Accursed Poet? Does he have a sense of humour? And if so, what kind? – There's a continuing argument over whether these poets have any humour at all. Many readers think that they don't – they can't, since they take their mission too seriously. In some individual cases the evidence is compelling. Taking Ginsberg for example, I would fully agree that humour wasn't his strong point.
    But Kolenič resurrects the Accursed Poet with unpredictable humour as well as imaginative energy. Right at the beginning, Kolenič gives him the ideal girlfriend, who wants nothing else but to have her share of poetic suffering: She told me she loved me as a verse-creating object, as something with an enormous shaggy tail, something absurdly spectacular and at the same time hopelessly primitive, old-fashioned, prehistoric; I love you as a most magnificently versifying object, Klárika would murmur through kiss-curved lips before everyone had fallen asleep and let nothingness alight upon the earth, till then unended, I love you as an object of poetry, as a swarm of animate corpuscles, as a race of irredeemable tramps… while all

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