A pointed intellect is in charge: a restless, ironic intelligence… -Maria Topali, newspaper “Kathimerini”, Biblio, 08.04.2019; * * * * * Like Wittgenstein meeting Kafka, you might say. This “Tractatus” could well be taught at schools as an example of the difference between poetry and “poeticality”. - Orfeas Apergis, newspaper “Ta Nea”, Poetry, 03.08.2019; * * * * * Boukova manages to transfuse Balkan tradition to contemporary expressive means, to transform inner experience to extroversive manifestation, comfortably balancing at the border between modern and postmodern. Original in their conception and execution images and a poetic force which subdues sentimentalism, these are poems that any contemporary poet would aspire to write. Stavros Zafeiriou (poet), Entefktirio journal


Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova


“In his own house, he ordered a room to be emptied and the kilim to be spread out on the floor. He walked along its edges, not daring to tread upon it. After running his palm over its short, noble pelt and tracing the whirlwind fractals of its patterns with his finger, he began to recognize, among the precious textile’s innumerable knots, motifs that were recurrent without being identical, and rows of small, barely discernible black symbols that filled it entirely.
[ . . .]
Thus in some spots the story was worn out and fading along with the rest of the traces, and only individual passages were preserved, islets of coherent speech among the half-erased words and the missing connections, and in one such fragment of shady green and antelope yellow, he was able to decipher something about a hunting expedition, where the prince had hit the mark seven times while his companion had hit it six times, but then, with a swift sweep of his sword, the young man had slashed a snake hanging over his master from some branches. In another, predominantly crimson in color, he read about a bandit attack, where the prince and his courtier had fought on their own, keeping their backs against each other and slaying anyone who approached them, until reinforcements arrived. And in a third such islet, with that blue-black color possessed only by ancient kilims and sea abysses, he found the beginning verses of the song sung by the longshoremen in the ports and the boatmen in the open sea, about the friendship between the prince and the foreigner.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova






#travelinginthedirectionoftheshadow



Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova





“And they took him out to sea, and until his last day he never forgot those icy tentacles crawling down his back, that delicious thrill in his groin at the instant—one foot still on the pier and the other hanging over the void—right before he stepped onto the boat, that blissful drop, that ominous joy which made his head spin, that feeling he was having a frightening dream and laughing in his fear."

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova












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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova






“One sunny morning he was taking the donkey to the spring, when he spotted something enormous and bright yellow in the branches of a faraway tree. It did not resemble anything he had ever seen before, so he left the donkey on the path and walked through the tall grass to an elevated spot, in order to take a better look. But he could not make out what it was from there either—it was round and seemed to float among the branches, and its color shone under the sun without reflecting it. So he continued walking through the grass, which kept tripping him up, as though somebody had tied it together to trip him up on purpose, and the path fell further and further behind. The thing hung among the tree branches, like a fruit, but of unprecedented proportions, it was matte, yellowish-orange and it shone with its enigma. And he was already quite close to it when he realized what it was.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova







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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova





“Whoever had once founded Thornitsa must have been running away from something. Some misfortune so terrible and sudden that he had left behind his home and his village without taking anything with him, apart from a sack of chestnuts and an unclear future for himself and his children. He had avoided the wide roads, climbed along the mountain’s pathless slope with his chest almost brushing against the earth and the tangled roots, and reached that steep spot by the river where the land gave birth to stones, the stones to thistles, and the thistles to thorns.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova











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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova






“And then, from this elevated spot where his path had taken him, he saw something silver, like a snake stretching along the horizon, a radiance as slim as a nail, a glimmer at the boundary between the valley and the sky, so unexpected that he thought it would disappear from his sight if he blinked even once, but he blinked, then blinked again, and then once more, and it did not disappear but remained where it was. And so he turned to the first person he spotted in this bare place where his path had taken him, an old man as twisted as the prickly shrubs that his goats were chewing on, he asked him what that thing was, and the old man, without even turning around to look, replied brusquely, it’s the sea. And he asked again, breathless with fear that the old man perhaps did not know, perhaps had forgotten, or perhaps, simply out of spite, would not tell him, what is the sea, but the old man replied, growing more irate with each word, what could the sea be, it’s water, what else could it be, it’s nothing but one big water.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova






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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova





“In a Transylvanian inn with humid walls on which the shadows rose up for some kind of monstrous life of their own, independent of the bodies, he heard his first story from around these parts and assumed he was on the right track. Hesitant, exploratory steps were heard above their heads from the second floor. An icy draft of uncertain origins caused the flame of the only candle in the room to repeatedly sway and go out. The host narrated the story slowly, with great dramatic pauses, which Outis then reproduced at all the wrong moments while he searched for the words with which to translate”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova










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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova






“Mansour Al-Halim, who had studied architecture by observing the flight of birds, the skipping of water, and the curvature of his youngest wife’s neck, was commissioned by Bukhara’s ruler to build a mosque, which would glorify the Almighty’s name and protect the ruler’s name against time’s omnivorousness. After studying the solar ray’s path through a glass of water and the bee’s path around its hive, Mansour Al-Halim constructed the building so that it replicated the rhythm of the surrounding hills, while the swallows made their nests under its roof as the only frieze and decoration. He built the mosque’s minaret at an oblique angle in relation to the ground, which meant that it hung over the ground but never fell. Many people spoke of failure and a few of a miracle, and soon the ruler was forced to have the structure torn down and order a new one built in its place, because the oblique minaret distracted his subjects from their work and their prayers.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova






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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova





“The hadji had one daughter, and her hair was the color of wild honey in the middle of winter. One night the daughter jumped over the house’s fence, and the strange thing was, she neither scraped her hands nor ripped her dress, even though the stone fence was taller than a person and the night was dark, and she only had a little dew on her skirt when she reached the mason’s door at dawn. That was how Manol Iliev came to marry a second time, and it was at his wedding that Iovana first laid eyes on him.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova










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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova






“It was a bright, spacious house, full of dead relatives. He only remembered a few things from the childhood he spent in it. The large salon’s floor, for example, with its black and white tiles, which used to give him trouble. He would traverse it by using the moves of either the knight or the bishop, and sometimes, when he was in a hurry, even the moves of the queen. Every trip from the dining room to the conservatory, from the library to the doors of the interior rooms, from the table to the window, became a new problem to be solved. It was only later, during one of his numerous microscopic revolutions, that he forced himself to walk without observing any rules. But even then, with the feeling he was doing something improper.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova








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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova






“Only the insolence of the fly did not fit anywhere. After serious deliberations and still with the feeling he was pulling it out of thin air, he reached the conclusion that the so-called ‘insolence of the fly’ was in fact a misunderstood expression of its ephemerality, and therefore belonged to the same cycle as the single day of the dayfly. The time of the fly runs out faster than our own time, and this makes the fly feel safe. Its movements in this faster time are (usually) nimbler than our own movements, which in turn pose no threat to it. The fly keeps coming back and landing on us over and over again, perceiving us as something almost immobile, almost unliving. It is this insolence that we find impossible to forgive.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova








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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova






“The illness lasted over a year and left her as abruptly as it had come, between two lit candles, one by her head and another by her feet, and with a thin, mother-of-pearl trail of saliva in the corner of her mouth, where her soul had left, in no hurry, like a snail.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova












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Ekaterina Petrova on Iana Boukova






“The light had been glorious. Pure. “There are such moments,” the photographer said, “when the light is completely pure. As if someone has wiped all the dust off the world.” If he keeps talking about the light, I might even start to like him, the Dutchman thought nervously. The sky had been overcast with clouds, the photographer explained, but the light still shone through. Soft, yet abundant. “Like a woman,” the photographer said. Van Athen swallowed dryly.”

- From "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow", translated by Ekaterina Petrova
- Photo: Ekaterina Petrova











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We are simultaneously the spider web and the spider, Boukova’s poetic work seems to indicate, with its continuous engendering of connections. It transforms the self-evident, adds itself to the mystery without solving it, aware that it is a part of it, and expounds its unrelenting logic, stretching it to the point of absurdity. -Katerina Iliopoulou, “FRMK” magazine * * * * * The Bulgarian poet Iana Boukova with her book “The minimal garden”, in a very good translation into greek by Dimitris Allos, has easily gained herself a place in contemporary greek poetry, transplanting memory in all things, honoring with affection what is hurt or hunted, being able to look beyond the future into man’s adventure……….. Dino Siotis, (poet), (de)kata journal

© 2019 - 2021, Iana Boukova
Contact e-mail: bukova.iana(at)gmail.com