The Power of Poetry




“Poetry is what is lost in translation.”- Robert Frost 

 

On Wednesday, Nov. 17th, AUBG held another Poets and Writers series called Dear Passengers. The special guest for the lecture was Kristin Dimitrova, a Bulgarian poet, who read from her poetry and shared her struggles and success in the field.

Kristin Dimitrova. Photo courtesy of Zheliana Borisova.

Dimitrova is a Bulgarian poet born in Sofia. She is one of the most renowned Bulgarian women of her time. She dedicated her life not only to writing original and captivating poems but translating ones from different languages.

 

When she was a kid poetry was a big part of her life.  “Although I started writing young it was fairly late. Most poets start writing when they are still kids, but I was a poetry reader before I became a writer.”

 

Dimitrova’s first encounter with writing poems was not one she is very proud of. “My first six poems are all in Bulgarian, and to this date, I still do not like them at all. It was hard for me to begin. I was always wondering, how do people think of a poem? Where does the poem appear? Is it in their mind already or is it something born from a memory?”

 

Despite her very rocky beginning, Dimitrova continued writing and exploring a new genre - prose.“I felt the need for this. Poetry can have revenge on you. At first, you need it, but gradually it makes you depressed. Prose does not have this effect, maybe that is why my imagination starts with prose.”

 

Every writer knows the feeling when you can’t get anything out, you come to the so-called “writer’s block”. For some, it is brought by stress, for others by lack of motivation. For Dimitrova it was death. “With death, I just stop. I take time to collect myself and I move to prose from some escape. Poetry for me is like I am naked. With prose is like doing a puppet theatre. You are hidden from the whole impact.” 

 

While talking about her work the people got to know some of her favorite authors like John Donne.”I just love him. He has a wonderful sense of humor, without taking away the drama from his work. He writes passionately. Poets are normally famous for several things from his work, but in his case, everything is good.”

 

John Donne is also one of Dimitrova’s favorite authors to translate. “I don’t like the romantics. They kind of make me sleepy. That is why I prefer to translate postmodernist. It takes me months to fully translate something, even more, when I have to translate the humor.” 

Kristin Dimitrova. Photo courtesy of Zheliana Borisova

When asked about how she sees herself, Kristin pauses for a minute.”I was seen as a postmodernist, but I am not sure I am. I never start with a concept. I start with something small that remains in my mind. A paradox that has fascinated me.” 

 

When people think of poetry they think of a text having those catchy rhymes at the end of every sentence. Everybody loves them right? However, Dimitrova doesn’t stand by this opinion. “Writing poetry you are the one who is responsible. You are the first to write it, and you are the one to blame. Rhymes don’t help you out. The rhyme has a memory of its own. It hijacks the meaning of the poem.”

 

And for those of you who are still wondering how to write a poem without rhyme Dimitrova had a piece of great advice. “Well, you need to let it sink. My Bulgarian poems have stayed without an ending for a long time. Think of it as a puzzle. You just need to find the perfect piece to match the picture.”

 

Kristin finished her speech with a piece of advice to every young author. “You need to share what you have written. When you are alone it doesn’t matter that you have written those thoughts, they are still inside of you. So share, share, share with as many people as you can. Make your work known. It doesn’t matter if it is good or not. Just share it.”

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