Preç Zogaj

Occurrence on Earth
Selected Poems

Translated by Gjekë Marinaj

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Preç Zogaj Preç Zogaj (translated into English by Gjekë Marinaj) speaks to the collective experience of his people during the period leading up to and immediately following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Zogaj's introspection of a people just emerging from decades of life under one of the world's most isolated and repressive dictatorships.

The works Albania's cities, mountains, and coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Regional references include the cultural symbols of neighboring Greece, Zogaj's religious heritage in Christian Northern Albania, and Islam (Albania's predominant religion since the days of the Ottoman Empire).

While mentioning the influence of the Soviet era with a reference to Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, these poems reveal Albania's strong identity with the West, incorporating such places as Florence in Italy and California in America, and such icons of European literature as Shakespeare, Goethe, and Balzac. Many of the poems written in the earlier part of the period evoke sad images of a traumatized people, who were living in a countryside littered with arms and ammunition, including chemical weapons from the communist era and land mines left over from the Kosovo conflict.


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