Negative Space

Negative Space


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Lleshanaku’s poems are “full of objects and souls, transformed and given wings in Chagall-like metaphor” (Sasha Dugdale, Poetry Nation Review)

*Shortlist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize*

“Language arrived fragmentary / split in syllables / spasmodic / like code in times of war,” writes Luljeta Lleshanaku in the title poem to her powerful new collection Negative Space. In these lines, personal biography disperses into the history of an entire generation that grew up under the oppressive dictatorship of the poet’s native Albania. For Lleshanaku, the “unsaid, gestures” make up the negative space that “gives form to the woods / and to the mad woman—the silhouette of goddess Athena / wearing a pair of flip-flops / and an owl on top of a shoulder.” It is the negative space “that sketched my onomatopoeic profile / of body and shadow in an accidental encounter.” Lleshanaku instills ordinary objects and places—gloves, used books, acupuncture needles, small-town train stations—with subtle humor and profound insight, as a child discovering a world in a grain of sand.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811227520
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 04/24/2018
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

The author of seven poetry collections, Luljeta Lleshanaku was born in Elbasan, Albania, in 1968, and grew up under house arrest during Enver Hoxha’s Stalinist regime. She has worked as a teacher, literary magazine editor, journalist, screenwriter, and currently is the research director at the Institute of Studies of Communist Genocide in Albania.

Ani Gjika is an Albanian-born writer, a literary translator, and the author of Bread on Running Waters (2013), a finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and May Sarton New Hampshire Book Prize.

Table of Contents

From Almost Yesterday (2012)

Almost Yesterday 3

Small-Town Stations 5

The Unknown 7

History Class 8

Children of Morality 10

Night Fishing 12

Tobacco 15

Used Books 17

Negative Space 19

Mine, Yours 29

The End of Summer 31

Via Politica 33

The Deal 35

In the Town of Apples 37

Acupuncture 39

First Week of Retirement 41

A Conversation with Charles Simic 43

The Business of Dying 45

Metallic 47

The Body's Delay 51

Two by Two 53

Gloves 55

I Came, I Saw, I Left… 57

Index 59

Transit Terminal 61

Live Music 63

Ramesses's Last Journey 65

From Homo Antarcticus (2015)

Homo Antarcticus 69

Something Bigger Than Us 87

Menclaus's Return 89

The Railway Boys 91

Metamorphosis 93

January 1, Dawn 95

Aging 96

Fishermen's Village 98

Commit to Memory 100

Cities 102

Anatomical Cut 104

Self-Portrait in Woven Fabrics 106

Water and Carbon 109

This Gesture 123

The Stairs 125

Lost in Translation 127

A Perfect Day 129

One's Destiny 131

Inside a Suitcase 132

Things I Like About Him 134

Translator's acknowledgments 135

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