Pebbles in the Sand
Ivice prtenjace1
Tahar ben jelloun
Diarmuid Johnson.

Transcript, in this its thirteenth issue, celebrates its second summer of production, and invites its readers, in Europe and further afield, to visit both Croatia and Portugal, countries featured in these pages for the first time.

From Croatia, we present nine authors whose work reflects a questioning of traditional aesthetics during the final quarter of the 20th century. 'A Quorum of Croatian Poets' by Kresimir Bagic opens doors to the poetry of Delimir Resicki, Damir Sodan, Drago Glamuzina, Branko Cegic and others. Bagic writes, en passant: 'It is fascinating how poets emerging in the midst of the cataclysm of war did not write about the war, and when they did they merely included it as the inevitable subtext of their experience.'

This observation prompts a question: how far does the act of writing go in dealing with cataclysm in collective human existence? Perhaps, ultimately, wordlessness heals. But what is the writer's vocation if this is the case? Our featured writers have no doubt as to their own personal vocation. Portugal's José Luís Peixoto is a young writer who has met with immense success. Both Spain's daily El Pais and Portugal's Nobel-prize winner José Saramango describe Peixoto as a 'revelation'. His novel, A House in Darkness is an allegory for developments which threaten modern civilisation.

Recently, the US government imposed restrictions on the publishing of material from countries such as Sudan, Iran, Iraq and Cuba, currently under trade embargo. While publishing articles from countries under trade embargoes is legal, editing articles is defined as a service. The Treasury Department of the US government maintains that it is illegal to perform services for embargoed nations. On this subject, read 'U.S. Curbs Freedom of Publishing'.

Transcript met with Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamun in Galway, Ireland, at the Cúirt International Literature Festival. Salamun, for his part, iconoclastic and renegade, makes language do unexpected things. Poetry, he tells us, fell on him like 'stones out of the sky'. Salamun speaks of the challenge and significance of writing in a smaller language - Slovenian - and of his ties with the United States of America.

Welshman R.S. Thomas joins José Luís Peixoto, Tomaz Salamun and our quorum of Croatian poets to complete the present issue. In helping to disseminate the books and ideas of these writers, Transcript hopes their words may shine like pebbles in the sand, washed up from the deep by swelling currents.

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