A Poet Has To Know Exactly What He/She Wants To Say

The poet Dimana Ivanova was introduced to Slovak audiences at the international poetry festival Ars Poetica 2013. We met with the author in the meantime and we’re bringing you a short interview.

What does poetry mean to you?

To me, poetry means a very close relationship to the world around us, to people and things. Poetry and words are a materialized expression of our feelings towards people and things around us, in the world. However, poetry is not just an expression and way to feel the world, but also a way to predict and “prophecy”. Poets are prophets of their time, and the words in a poem are a materialized sign of an everlasting metaphysical universe.

Why do you write?

Because I exist. I write to know this world better, and as a play with words, poetry is very important to me. I want to perceive the world differently, I want to empathize with it and thus manage to get through both the better and the worse moments that it brings.

Dimana Ivanova with the magazine Glosolália 4/2016,
which published the author’s poems

What do you think is a good poem, and when do you consider a poem finished?

Well, that is a tough question. I think I am a much better judge of other people’s poetry than mine. That is why I always eagerly welcome my fellow poets’ opinions. I believe that a poet has to know very well what it is exactly that they want to say. If an author expresses their thoughts in a simple way without the help of metaphors and other poetic devices, there’s always the risk of the poem no longer being good … When it comes to form, it should have no influence on the quality of a poem. However, a good poem is also a poem that has an impact on the reader and leaves an impression. If you read a poem and then almost immediately forget about it, it must not have been a good one…

When do you write?

I write when I’m inspired. And that usually happens at night, when the moon is out and I’m able to see my dreams…

A poem collection by D. Ivanova, The Alphabet of Desires (Scalino, 2016)

What do you think is the meaning of life?

That is also a very difficult question. Because life is just a big illusion. And the universe is vast, so not even a lifetime of writing is enough for us to get to know it. Whatever we do, we’ll only ever be tiny when compared to the world created by God. The meaning of life is to learn to live in harmony with oneself and achieve a state of your own perfection. Some will find harmony in family life, others in freedom. For me, the meaning of life is to be myself and to do what brings me fulfillment and what I feel I simply must do. I find fulfillment in writing poetry. Writing is a way for me to be myself. After all, a person finds several “meanings” of life in various stages of it. For a certain period in my life, it was the desire to achieve the greatest knowledge possible, and that is why I went to earn a doctorate, even though someone else might think of it as a waste of time. So, it is quite hard to squeeze the answer to your question about the meaning of life into a few lines. However, I think that the most important thing in all seasons of life is to live in harmony with oneself and to be yourself.

The poems by D. Ivanova can also be found in the anthology
from the international poetry festival Ars Poetica 2013

Dimana Ivanova and the translator Igor Hochel on a presentation of the poetry collection The Alphabet of Desires
in the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Bratislava on November 9th 2016

Interview by Martina Straková

English translation by Martina Tomašovičová