Romanian Opinions on Albanian Literature “Bread of the Verse” and “Water of the Word” Jeton Kelmendi is a good constructor of verse impressing through his ability to find the symbolic, imagination and metaphor of an authenticity and fragility which can rarely be found and only in authors gifted with a talent, where he finds the plain of the word, silence body, word wounds, the whitewashed bones of the lyric, etc.. His anthology is the shore of exile, selfexile of every modern man and at last of one’s country in which, although infrequently, letters continue to arrive. And, together with them, the secret and magic murmur of poetry. Florentin Popescu ( Buchurest ) Some time ago, the Romanian readers were surprised to meet with another true poet – from the many, valued and interesting, original and beautiful poets of Kosova – a blessed yonder which beyond the known historical injustices proves to be a literary space continuing its affirmation an imposing itself increasingly in the universal concert of the lyrical world. The name of this poet is Jeton Kelmendi, and his volume, translated into Romanian by Baki Ymeri, carries a title which is not only suggestive but also burdened with a sentimental and symbolic: How rarely we receive letters. Jeton Kelmendi had his debut at the age of 21, in 1999, with his volume, Century of Promises, meaning that the poet allows us understand that, at least through his title of the book, had a mature and entirely conscientious vision of the meaning of the bard and a disturbed century in which he was destined to live. By the way, it should be pointed out that Jeton Kelmendi has proven to be extremely inspired by the fact of his later volumes with potentially ‘polemical’ and inciting titles such as: Beyond Silence (2002), If it were Midday (2004) Give me Little Fatherland (2005), Where do Arrivals Go (2007), Lady Word (2007), and How Seldom They Come (2007). The volume that gives us an opportunity to express our thoughts and impressions on paper is an anthology of selected anthological values from his entire work carries a title bearing a modern figure on loan from the poet’s most inspired poems. We say this not by accident at this Bucharest presentation that this is indeed an inspired title as it in fact holds in itself an entire lyrical universe. That is a universe that individualizes the author giving shape to an incomparable personality both in the Kosovar and European poetry. By risking the possibility of having to ask for an excuse if we point out an already known truth – that man is his poetry, and that poetry is the man himself, we are
saying that Jeton Kelmendi expresses himself directly, sincerely, and without the tam/tams in the torments of the literary figure which would otherwise betray him at once. Jeton Kelmendi is in fact distinguished with his entire being in the agitated times which we all experience – a poet of love and the pen, of contemplation against the passing of time and human condition. And, if we can summarize in a single word all of his creativity we do not know which would be the best suited: Simplicity, Sincerity, Secrecy, Whisper, Testimony? We do not know as the author has something of all of that. The author’s wish is to communicate to the others something of his own world filled with golden spirit. A simple testimony made for his love from which gurgles a generalizing value, like in the poem “Word surpassing silence”: ‘Yesterday I learnt/ how to keep silent/ Speak little/ I am full of sadness breath/ Through tired eyelashes/ Of you eyes/ I’ve walked towards you long ago/ To speak in silence/ Tell your story/ And mine/ And I thought/ To tell you/ That you are/ The bread of verses/ Water of words/ I am for you/ The most sought for song/ An oldliving!’. We see here some kind of an abruption of perspective, the poet pronouncing in the finale a most suitable imagery as a most suggestive comparison of feeling in the sound of an “oldtime” melody wrapped up on its perfume and nostalgia. In this sense, contemplation and longing mingle with the condition of “waiting” and melancholy of the moment in which if the ‘roads lead to exile’ one could hardly find anyone. Someone stuck between darkness and light ‘suffering from the word’ against an unexpressed, dreamed song felt and much awaited. We do not know how the poet presented himself in his first volumes as we had no way of knowing, but here he comes out as an inspired bard and fine ‘constructor’ of verse impressive through his ability to know how to find the symbol, imagination and metaphor of an originality and softness which we meet but rarely and only in talented authors, where he finds his word’s field, body of silence, word’s wounds, whitewashed bones of lyrics… “How rarely letters come”, the poet says. And, by this we understand, in fact, the anxiety to see a 20th century man ranking amidst the tides of life as a loyal soldier of humanity, estranged by sincere sensitivity, experiences and beautiful sentiments, but also by a quiet and romantic past from which every one of us maintain a piece in our own selves. To these – and not only to these – Jeton Kelmendi consecrates a good part of poems and also to his love viewed as some kind of an exile from the sadness and follies of the modern world – a very interesting fact (in Romanian: fapt foarte interesant), and which cannot pass unnoticed by the reader as a lover of poetry sharing, without doubt, the guilt with the poet. Jeton Kelmendi’s anthology appears to us rather as a ‘color stain’ in the lyrical context practiced today in the world. It is the bank of exile, selfexile of every
modern man and in the same time the place in which, although rarely, letters still arrive. And, with them comes the secret and enchanting murmur of poyetry. (Bucharest, April 30th, 2008).