Tomaž Šalamun

b. 1941
Tomaž Šalamun

Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun is one of Europe’s most prominent poets and a leader of the Eastern European avant-garde. Early in his career he edited the literary magazine Perspektive and was briefly jailed on political charges. He studied art history at the University of Ljubljana, where he found poetry suddenly, as a revelation, describing its arrival in a 2004 interview as “stones from the sky.”

Šalamun is the author of more than 30 collections of poetry in Slovenian and English. He published his first collection, Poker (1966), at the age of 25. His poetry, using elements of surrealism and polyphony, is influenced by the work of Charles Simic and Charles Baudelaire.

He has won the Jenko Prize, Slovenia’s Prešeren and Mladost Prizes, and a Pushcart Prize. Šalamun and his German translator, Fabjan Hafner, were awarded the European Prize for Poetry by the German city of Muenster. His poetry has been widely anthologized and translated into more than 20 languages.

Šalamun was a Fulbright Fellow at Columbia University. When he joined the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, he met the Finnish American poet Anselm Hollo, who later became one of Šalamun’s translators. Šalamun is a member of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art and lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He teaches occasionally in the United States.

Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

LIFE SPAN 1941–

Tomaž Šalamun

Biography

Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun is one of Europe’s most prominent poets and a leader of the Eastern European avant-garde. Early in his career he edited the literary magazine Perspektive and was briefly jailed on political charges. He studied art history at the University of Ljubljana, where he found poetry suddenly, as a revelation, describing its arrival in a 2004 interview as “stones from the sky.”

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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