The Slovenia Times

Acclaimed Poet Šalamun Dies


Šalamun was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1941, but his family soon moved to Ljubljana and then to Bosnia's Mostar. He grew up in the Slovenian coastal town of Koper, where he was considered a piano prodigy.

Trying to continue in his father's steps, Šalamun enrolled in the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine, but later transferred to art history at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts.

During his studies there, he attended a lecture by acclaimed Slovenian poet Dane Zajc (1929-2005) which changed his life and set him on the path of becoming a poet.

His first collection of poems "Poker" was published in 1966. This and all those that followed earned him the title of a leading postwar neo-avant-garde poet of the Central Europe.

"Šalamun's iconoclastic poetry has been much more than a nightmare for the people of old stamp and a rich hunting ground for numerous literary theoreticians and interpreters ever since his beginnings," a reference book on poetry "One Hundred Slovenian Poets" says about his work.

Šalamun is also well known in the US, where he lived for a while and created more than half of his collections. He is often listed among the best US poets.

Between 1996 and 1999, he worked as the cultural attache at the Slovenian Embassy in the US and taught creative writing at several US universities.

He received many awards and prizes for his work, including the Prešeren Prize, the top Slovenian accolade for artistic achievement, in 1999.

His other notable international accolades include the European Prize for Poetry by the German city of Münster (2007) and the Macedonian Golden Wreath from Struga (2009).

His books, often reprinted, have been translated into more than 20 languages.


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