Your most recent publication “Taubentext, Vogeltext”, is a long poem written together with the German poet Nikolai Vogel (Golob in German tranlates as „Taube“, pidgeon), that breaks with many conventional rules of poetry: You write in two languages, German and Slovene. You write it in the rather unpoetical format of e-mails. And most of all, you write it with another person. Isn´t a poem supposed to be something very personal and direct, and inhowfar is that still possible or even wanted when it is written with somebody else? How did your relationship with Nikolai Vogel change during the process? Can we expect more such cooperaional projects?
A poem, and poetry in general, can be many things. „Taubentext, Vogeltext“ with Nikolai Vogel was an experiment, as we did not know each other before and were connected in order to collaborate for an evening with more poetic couples formed for that occasion. After reading Part 1 there, we decided to continue, as we both figured the topic is not yet dealt with. There was still plenty to write about, which turned into a poem in 6 parts in the end, and we could go on. The process was also new for me. I took it as a mirror, and learned a lot about my own poetics along the way. Also, since I predominantly wrote in German (I used parts in Slovene only for the kick-off, where I was still very unsure), it was an extremely interesting thing for me to observe the development of the language along the way. Nikolai proved to be a great help, and I think it is safe to say we both also gained a friend along the way. As I said – poetry can be many things: a language-lesson, a sandbox for friendship … This does not mean it can be just anything – poetry is hard and demanding, but she’s also extremely witty, gentle and giving.
Language is the primary ressource of a writer, and yours is Slovene. How is your relationship with this rather exotic language? Do you feel limited by its small amount of speakers, or rather inspired by its specialty (as the Slovene has, for example, not only singular and plural, but also a dual)? How can one interpret your attempts of writing poetry in German in “Taubentext, Vogeltext” in this context? And what do you think, happens with your poems when translated into other languages?
Nobody choses their mother-tongue, although of course some writers later change and write in another language. I take Slovene as my closest language, and try to use it the best I can. I love the fact that I have the luxury to be able to write love-poems in a language that has dual, for example, and I, working a lot with the rhythm, very much benefit from the typical structures in the language, but to me it is not exotic, of course. And I do not put it on a pedestal. I’d love to be able to write poetry in German, for example, to be able to live in that language in the same way I live in Slovene, to feel the nuances and be able to use them in poetry. I cannot, which is a shame. „Taubentext, Vogeltext“ was not a way towards that, though. That was a co-working thing where I could participate by using German, also as a method of communication. But since I am of course aware most of the people do not speak Slovene, I also know, I will always at least up to a point be dependent on translations. With some translators I work together, they ask me about certain spots in a poem, and are interested in how I see their translations. If I don’t speak the language, I of course cannot help much, but if I do, these are very valuable collaborations. I am also able to see my work from a very different perspective, which teaches me a lot. I am in enormous debt to sensitive translators with developed sense for details and atmosphere.
In your poetry anthology “Vesa v zgibi” you make references to the British poet Sylvia Plath and her death. How important was she for your poetry, and would you identify with her position on poetry, that is, with what has been called confessional poetry? Is there maybe also a political, especially a femenist, intention? Who else influenced your writing and inhowfar? And of course, who is your favourite author?
Plath is one of the references that form the base of classics every poet obviously reads. I absolutely think I was formed with reading, reading poetry, prose, graphic novels, dramas – and I know female authors and their work influenced me. Sarah Kane, for example; I am very sad I didn’t have a chance to meet her. I mention her as she taught me in her works how important it is to be brave, to dare, to envision things, and to then follow through, to not give in to laziness, but to persevere and be uncompromising towards your writing, yourself and your art. She, all her texts, to me stand out as a bright example – yes, of course, youthful and at parts hazy, but who gives a fuck about that – she was utterly brilliant, amazingly talented and obviously so, so funny. The world would be a poorer place without her art, which in my mind is the best compliment I can give to an artist. There are many other authors I could name, but to not be too long, I’ll stick with this for now.
You are not only a poet, but also staged some plays. How different is for you the creative act of poetry from the rather interpretative work of a dramturge? Is there a common purpose behind both, or are there rather two Anja Golobs for these different tasks? Could you imagine to write something non-lyrical (apart from your journalistic work)?
I’m a dramaturg, meaning I help the director when staging a performative work. Mostly I worked in contemporary dance and other performative practices, I also did one dramaturgy for an art film. There is in general the same idea behind all the things that I do, namely passion for encapsulating atmospheres. There is always dramatic tension, too, it is only manifested differently in different art genres. So, I would say there is only me somehow. I do believe I will always be rooted in poetry, what writing is concerned, but I do intend to write different genres, too, sure.