Ljubljana – Poet, writer and essayist Jože Snoj died on Thursday aged 87, his family has said. The recipient of received several awards for his work, dealing mostly with his experience of the WWII, religious and existential questions, and eroticism, he won the top award in culture, the Prešeren Prize, in 2012.
“His life is reflected in the autobiographical elements of both his poetry and prose,” said his daughter Zarika Snoj Verbovšek and pointed to his works of prose and poetry for children and youth, and the many awards he received, including the Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievement.
Born in Maribor in 1934, he spent his early childhood there. During the war his family moved to the Dolenjska region and then to Ljubljana in 1943, where he graduated in Slavic philology and comparative literature in 1960. He worked as a Delo journalist and then as editor at the DZS publisher.
In the 1980s, he co-edited Nova Revija, an intellectual journal that played an instrumental role in Slovenia’s struggle for independence.
He was part of the generation which, influenced by poet Edvard Kocbek (1904-1981), strongly challenged the literary canon established by the Communist regime and his his first collection of poetry, “Mlin stooki” (The Mill with Hundred Eyes), was banned from publishing in the late 1950s.
His collection of novels “Gospa z Mentolom” (Lady with Mints – 1966) marked his turn to Modernist prose. “My literary generation stood up to both Socialist ‘shovel’ poetry and renovated Romantic realism…” he was quoted as saying.
Together with his contemporaries, he strove to express “what is inexpressible, inconceivable, hidden behind visible things and phenomena”. They drew from what was forbidden by the regime and introduced to literature by avant-garde poet Srečko Kosovel (1904-1926).
The Prešeren Prize jury said in 2012 Snoj’s extensive oeuvre had “left a significant mark on Slovenian literature in the last five decades”.
The list of awards he received for his work includes the Tomšič Award for journalist work, two Levstik Awards for youth literature, the Veronika Prize for best poetry collection, and the Rožanec and Jenko awards for individual works.