Poet Borut Gombač wins Veronika Prize

Celje – Borut Gombač has been honoured with the Veronika Prize for best collection of poetry while the Golden Coin of Poetry for lifetime achievements went to Iztok Geister Plamen. The awards ceremony was held at the Narodni Dom on Tuesday evening in the city of Celje, which has given out the prize since 1997.

Gombač, 58, told the STA that he had rejoiced at the very news of nomination, saying this year’s nominated collections of poems were excellent.

“It’s rewarding if you manage to write a book which proves worthy of an award. This is more of an award for the book than for me,” said Gombač.

Poems in S Konico Konice Jezika (With the Tip of the Tip of the Tongue) take us back to man’s basic position in the world and to the alchemy of language, the jury said.

They remind readers of the difference between the language which expresses reality and the language able of creating new meanings and opposing realities.

The three-member jury, chaired by literary critic Igor Divjak, labelled Gombač’s poems “physical relativism”, saying they blur the line between the subject and the object and between free will and determination.

It said the poems are sometimes rough and physical on purpose, often causing uneasiness and pain, but always end in calming tones, thus inspiring hope.

The Veronika Prize, one of the most prestigious poetry prizes in Slovenia, came with a cheque of 4,000 euro.

The other nominees were Vesna Liponik for Roko Razje, Jana Putrle Srdić for Oko Očesu Vrana, Lucija Stupica for Točke Izginjanja and Uroš Zupan’s Sanjska Knjiga.

Iztok Geister Plamen, 74, meanwhile received the Golden Coin of Poetry “for a passionate and the finest apologia of nature”.

Together with Tomaž Šalamun (1941-2014), Geister is considered one of the leading representatives of the Slovenian new avant-guard in the 1970s.

Both Geister and Šalamun were also members of OHO, an influential Slovenian avant-guard art collective which was active in the second half of the 1960s and early 1970s.