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


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Boukova Apofenie

Published July 28, 2020
Apofenie Magazine

Tell me please: what if someone, who had never read anything written by you, asked you about your writing style and which author you might be stylistically similar to? How would you answer?
I believe that the only way to present myself is in the texts I write. I’d rather advise anyone who is interested in my work to open any of my books at random or search online and read even one small fragment. This is the way to learn significantly more about my writing than any detailed introduction. However, if I still have to introduce myself in a certain way, I would say that I am an author who works more with ideas than with descriptions.
Can your novel "Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow" be attributed to the genre of magical realism?
But what does ‘magical realism’ mean in general? Consider for example a composer who perceives colors when he hears certain musical chords and the combinations of these colors modify his compositional process. A composer so fascinated with birds, that he starts notating bird songs from all over the world and incorporating birdsong transcriptions into his music. Everyone would probably assume that this is a fictional character. However, the truth is that it is the French composer Olivier Messiaen and all said above is a fact indeed. Reality is much richer and more unexpected than we can imagine. In the novel, I would rather deal with unexpected aspects of reality than with the creation of fantastic situations. In fact, some of my characters have strange and hyperbolic properties and talents, and here and there in the text I develop (mainly in a playing and parodying manner) elements that resemble the style of magical realism. But nothing violates the laws of physics in the book – only the law of expectation. It even occurred to me several times that the things and situations I thought I had created in my fantasy turned out to exist for real. For example, I described two minor characters that....

Iana Boukova Sariev Isolation

Published July 25, 2020

On March 27, 2020, in a situation of self-isolation, provoked by the pandemic COVID-19 Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv launched an evolving online project #sarievselfisolation. #sarievselfisolation is a laboratory in which the gallery curated and presented works of art, texts, videos, sounds and images that expressed the thoughts of artists about this moment in the life of our world and visions of its tomorrow. #sarievselfisolation presented new works created or developed in March and April 2020 at the invitation of Vesselina Sarieva and Katrin Sarieva. Each artist was in focus for 3-4 days.

#sarievselfisolation with its curation, experimental nature, visual and textual dynamics in the presentation of authors and their projects, its selection of artists and its intensity, has become a real artistic environment that continued to make sense in times of self-isolation and was monitored by the international and local art community.

The documentary by Kalin Serapionov presents interviews with the initiators of #sarievselfisolation Vesselina and Katrin Sarievi and the artists included in #sarievselfisolation: Pravdoliub Ivanov, Stela Vasileva, Kosta Tonev, Mitch Brezounek, Rudi Ninov, Maria Nalbantova, Dimitar Solakov, Zara Alexandrova, Zoran Georgiev, Michail Michailov, Kalin Serapionov, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Iana Boukova, Stefan Nikolaev, Voin de Voin, Vitto Valentinov.

2020 76:27 min Language: Bulgarian with English subtitles Camera: Kalin Serapionov, Dimirar Solakov Editing: Kalin Serapionov Music: New Candys / Bleeding Magenta, 2017 Translation: Kaloyan Nachev The film is produced and realized by Sariev, Plovdiv sariev-gallery.com With the support of Plovdiv Municipality

#sarievselfisolation Pandemic Diaries

Boukova Ariel Art

Published July 08, 2020
Iana Boukova's poetry on Ariel Literature OptoArt Multilingual Magazine

The main topic of this issue is Coronae. Poets and artists were welcomed to submit work on such different things as crowns, coroners and, of course, also the corona virus. Thus, this issue provides a real cornucopia of corona-art and poetry by Stefan Hoelscher (Germany), Jiaoyang Li (China), Michael Loesel (Germany), Phillip Meinert (Germany), Friederike Pank (Germany), Ruben Antonio Sanchez (Usa, Hongkong), Triin Soomets (Estonia) and Anita Tschirwitz (Germany).

Nevertheless, the issue also offers a great variety of topic-free poetry by Iana Boukova (Bulgaria), Ingo Cesaro (Germany), Abigail Chabotnoy Kerstetter (Usa), Amade Esperer (Germany), Norman Franke (New Zealand), Jelena Glazova (Latvia), Axel G?rlach (Germany), Yitzhak Laor (Israel), Iwona Lompart (Poland / Germany), short stories and pictures, whose focus is otherwise, albeit by no means less ravishing.

Moreover, the reader will be able to enjoy several essays, among which two center around famous Rilke and the Scotch poet Don Paterson, who most certainly will become famous, not least for his idiosyncratic Rilke versions. Also, as usual, several reviews on recently published bilingual poetry books are presented.

It is hoped that the reader will be aroused, inspired and infected by what he finds.

Bulgarian Text: Iana BOUKOVA; English Translation: John O'KANE / Voice: Iana BOUKOVA

Boukova Trafika Europe Radio

Published Junå 28, 2020 9:00 PM
Trafika Europe Radio - Women in Translation

Bulgarian author Iana Bukova and translator Ekaterina Petrova speak with host Tynan Kogane, editor at New Directions, about the amazing novel, Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow. This public talk was organized by Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, recorded at the Bulgarian Consulate General in New York on Monday, 18 November 2019, 19:00-21:00.

Trafika Europe is your online literary site for great new writing from across Europe in fresh English translation, with our online quarterly digest. . . and preparing to launch Trafika Europe Radio – Europe’s first “literary” radio station – free online. We want to maintain a literate, creative space where writers, publishers, translators and readers can meet, share their work and interact, free of borders in the shared medium of English language.


Τετάρτη, 24 Ιουνίου 2020

Πέτρος Γκολίτσης
Επιμέλεια: Μισέλ Φάις

Ενώ σύμφωνα με την ποιήτρια η drapetomania είναι «ψυχική νόσος στην οποία η ιατρική των λευκών απέδιδε την τάση των μαύρων σκλάβων να δραπετεύουν από τις φυτείες», η ίδια −στο τριμερές βιβλίο της− αποπειράται να δραπετεύσει από τους αστικούς μύθους και τα προ-διαγεγραμμένα μιας γυναίκας-φάντασμα, από το φιλοσοφικό «Tractatus» (συνεκδοχικά από τα όρια της γλώσσας που είναι τα όρια του κόσμου) και τελικά από την ίδια την ιστορία και την ύπαρξη.
Πρόκειται για μια στοχαστική, διανοητική και υπο-συναισθηματική ποίηση, τόσο ως διάθεση όσο και ως στόχευση, που με μονάδα δόμησης τον σύντομο αφορισμό, τον ορισμό ή το ρητό, και με τη λέξη ως όγκο στο λευκό, υπενθυμίζει και αξιώνει μια αχρονικότητα, η οποία και προέρχεται από τη γενιά του ’30 και κυρίως από τον Ελύτη∙ ο οποίος και κληροδοτεί στην τρέχουσα ποιητική «γενιά» τον χώρο ως μια απέραντη και άνευ όρων ελευθερία.
Εκεί, αισθητικά κατασταλαγμένη η ποιήτρια, με το διακριτό καλλιτεχνικό ύφος της, ως ήρεμη δύναμη, και με ένα εύρος που ξαφνιάζει, καθιστά την ποίησή μας πιο τρισδιάστατη. Ειρωνευόμενη τους θιασώτες της επίπεδης Γης, π.χ. με τους στίχους: «να κρεμάει τα πόδια του έξω από την ατμόσφαιρα / και να πίνει τα κοκτέιλ του φάτσα στους γαλαξίες» («Πάρτι»), μας ανοίγει σε έναν κόσμο δικό της, όπου πλάι στα ποτήρια που σκάζουν στο πάτωμα ως «μεγάλα ρόδια» συμμετέχουμε σε μια διαδρομή που ως κύριο σκοπό φαίνεται να έχει την αποσυναρμολόγηση∙ ώστε να καταστεί ορατός και απτός ο «μηχανισμός» και συνεκδοχικά να προκύψει η δυνατότητα μιας δραπέτευσης.


Saturday, 9 - 11 May 2020
Sariev Gallery

There are topics where it is a symptom the very fact that they are called "current". Victorians are said to have talked about death all the time, but never about sex. Like Victorians with a reverse sign, we constantly talk about sex, never about death.
"Fears leading to insanity" is a poetic project based on "found text” and exploring the inability of the modern person to approach the subject of their mortality. From the shamanic jargon of medicine through the mourning kitsch to the inexhaustible pataphysics of the popular media, language proves to be both powerless and aggressive, macabrely comical in every attempt to utter the fact of dying. Madness takes the place of metaphysics.
"I don't need to say anything. I'm just showing" says Benjamin.
The fragments used have been collected by the Web in recent years from a variety of sources: stories in the news, forensic reports, posts in groups and discussion forums, advertisements of funeral homes, dictionary entries, Google search results etc. The text has not been changed, only in some places the lines are cut to resemble verse form. Original spelling is preserved.



Fears leading to insanity - Texts - availabe in Bulgarian only...


Friday, 10 April 2020
Iana Boukova's work on Words Without Borders international magazine

The arrival of the plague sends a sleepy village into a frenzy in this excerpt from Iana Boukova's novel Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow.

And so Manol, the runt, was born, with clenched fists and broad shoulders. He came out with his eyes open but his shoulders became stuck and he remained this way, hanging between the world and the womb, making no sound, waiting for someone else to make a decision. And the old woman who was helping deliver him remembered the curse and spit into the embers to stop her hands from trembling. Whether as a result of her own efforts or with some other kind of assistance, she was finally able to pull him out, and while she wiped him down and angrily slapped his back to get him to cry, she said: “This one here was born twice.” And she tied his umbilical cord while she pressed her toothless gums into her lower lip and mulled over her words.


Friday, 27 March 2020


Continuiamo a pubblicare il meglio della letteratura da tutto il mondo. Oggi per voi un racconto di Iana Boukova, per il quale ringraziamo, ancora una volta, Emilia Mirazchiyska, che l'ha tradotto dal bulgaro.
La nostra epoca, a mio avviso, ha tanti difetti, ma anche alcuni pregi. Tra questi, la possibilità di essere una summa di tutte le precedenti. Letterariamente parlando, il postmodernismo al quale siamo abituati non è soltanto un pastiche di tutto ciò che c'è stato prima, che all'improvviso sviluppa un'autocoscienza (fin troppo) loquace, ma anche e soprattutto un pastiche che nella propria artificiosità mostra l'artificiosità di tutto ciò che c'è stato, e che ci sarà sempre. Il Senso, una volta condiviso e quindi sotteso alla narrazione, ora è messo in discussione, dal momento che, consapevole della propria volatilità storica, necessita di riaffermarsi ogni volta. E tuttavia, non potendo cancellare il passato, ogni segno segue i precedenti, e talvolta crea con gli stessi un discorso metastorico: leggere un racconto, in sintesi, ai giorni nostri, non è un'esperienza unica, ma è mediata dalle aspettative storicamente stratificate che in noi si affacciano leggendolo, e con il quale il racconto deve scontrarsi. Riuscirà a sfidare le convenzioni? O rimarrà confinato nel cliché? O prenderà coscienza di sé e ci mostrerà quanto acuto ? l'autore nell'essere consapevole dei propri antenati letterari e delle loro tecniche? Ecco che in questo paradosso senza scampo, anche una scena apparentemente semplice non smette di trasfigurarsi a ogni riga, e quando pensiamo che la trasfigurazione giunga a una forma determinata, questa ci sorprende ancora.
Che altro dire? Buona lettura.


Luxembourg, Friday, 13 March 2020, 7.00 p.m.


Foyer Européen - 10, rue Heine – Luxembourg, Salle Adenauer au 1er étage.

During Iana Boukova's presentation in Luxembourg, she will talk about four of her books: the award winning poetry book Notes of the Phantom Woman, and the poetry book Diocletian’s Palaces, the short stories collection A As Anything and her big renowned novel Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow. A reception will follow after the presentation.
Iana Boukova (born 1968) is a Bulgarian poet, novelist, essayist and translator. Boukova won the National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov" in 2019 for her poetry book Notes of the Phantom Woman and the 2012 Hristo G. Danov National prize for her eminent literary translations of the Pindar's Pythian Odes. In Bulgarian, she has published three books of poetry: Diocletian’s Palaces (1995) Boat in the Eye (2000), Notes of the Phantom Woman (2018), the short stories collections: A As Anything (2006), 4 Tales With no Return (2016) and the Borgesian novel: Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow (2009, rev. 2014), as well as translations of more than fifteen books of modern Greek and ancient poetry — among them: Sappho, Pindar, the poetry of Catullus, Maximus the Confessor, Costas Montis.

Iana Boukova, poet, writer, translator in conversation with Ekaterina Petrova. Capital - #4, 31.01.2020

Iana Boukova, poet, writer, translator in conversation with Ekaterina Petrova. Capital - #4, 31.01.2020

I believe that laughter is a form of knowledge. It is awareness of our human boundaries, of the innate and unsolvable impasse defined by our nature and our biological destiny. It is as well some kind of evolutionary mechanism for survival of the two mind-breaking "short circuits" of logic: the endlessness and the death. As children, we instinctively learn to laugh at the absurd, to experience a strangely joyful pleasure in realizing it: there is nothing more ridiculous about a child from the absurdity, where it expects meaning, from the chaos, where it awaits order.
We are preparing for what we will encounter throughout our lives. We create protection. Laughter exists to keep us from going crazy. It is a healing solution where there is no solution. This is the way to continue to live, resigned to the impasse. That's why laughing in art is such a serious thing. Any meaningful art sooner or later draws on these two themes: infinity and death. Any meaningful art sooner or later comes to laughter.



The National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov" 2019 was awarded to Iana Boukova for her poetry book "Notes of the Phantom Woman", published by the Janet 45 Printing and Publishing Company.
The winner received a statuette made by the artist Hristo Gochev.
The award ceremony for the prestigious National Poetry Award took place on December 11 (Wednesday) 2019 at 6:00 pm at the "Peroto" Literary Club in partnership with the National Book Centre of the National Palace of Culture
The competition featured 37 books from 22 publishers, published between October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019. Jury composed of: Prof. Ph.D. Svetlozar Igov (Chairman) - scholar, literary critic, poet and writer; Assoc. Prof. Yordan Eftimov - poet, teacher and literary critic and Julian Zhiliev - literary critic and teacher, nominate the following poetry books (in alphabetical order of authors):


ßíà Áóêîâà å íîñèòåëÿ íà Íàöèîíàëíà íàãðàäà çà ïîåçèÿ


Iana Boukova won the National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov" during the Sofia International Book Fair. She was awarded for her poetry book "Notes of the Phantom Woman".
The short list consisted of 10 books by one of the most significant contemporary Bulgarian poets. The National Poetry Award “Ivan Nikolov” was founded in 1994 by the publishing house “Janet 45” and is given annually for 25th time. Through it the publishing house testifies its support for Bulgarian poetry and literature. The first prize winner was the poet Christo Fotev, followed over the years by some of the most famous Bulgarian poets as Konstantin Pavlov, Vera Mutafchieva, Ivan Tzanev, Ekaterina Yosifova, Ivan Teofilov, Nikolay Kanchev, Ani Ilkov, Georgi Gospodinov, Silvia Choleva, Marin Bodakov.

Bulgarian National Radio
Ploshtad Slaveikov
Kulturni Novini


By Katerina Iliopoulou

In what language can we make poetry today? How do we engender a poetic discourse that is alive, with edge and attuned to the present, the inner existential present as well as the historic and social one? How does that discourse not merely attune itself, but initiate a dialogue? Drapetomania, Iana Boukova’s new book, answers these questions in its own artistic way, having assimilated in a thoroughly idiosyncratic manner both poignant lyricism and intensive image-making, which comprise her poetic ancestry, as well as the contemporary trend towards documentation poetry. The outcome is a one-of-a-kind book, a poetry of thinking which produces in the form of well-crafted poems the language it needs in order to reflect.
The nexus of linguistic tropes which succeed one another in the book create its unique idiom. The pared down exposition of events, carefully selected so that they constitute linguistic and mental events on their own right, often along the dimension of a poetic revelation, is interwoven with a philosophical, poetic thought assuming the guise of a riddle, or a sequence of dense aphorisms. Although it avails itself of an array of terms and disparate stories from a variety of sources, there is no ‘found text’ as such in the book, insofar as the poet successfully uses all the different ‘languages’ she employs, to mould her own. 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 selfevident, 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. Every such move of her poetic baton does not lead to redemption or to a solution, but, rather, to emptiness. The sky – Kepler discovered, / is no dome; it is a siege /His onion of perfect Platonic solids/ collapsed./ It came to be proven mathematically / that every orbit has two centres / and one of them is emptiness. Perhaps emptiness constitutes the book’s pivotal issue, its geometry, as it focuses on the void, whether of logic or morality, a poetry sniffing out the gaps in logic, thought, history, yet not defeated by this. On the contrary, it takes up residence there, as the space of an endless quest for meaning, against the discontent of civilization and the hopelessness of comprehending reality
PDF (English)...

Elizabeth Kostova Foundation presents Iana Boukova's Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow

New York, Monday, 18 November 2019, 19:00-21:00
Bulgarian Consulate General, 121 E 62nd St, NY, NY 10065

The event will feature a reading and conversation between the Bulgarian author Iana Boukova and her translator in English Ekaterina Petrova, led by the New Direction's editor Tynan Kogane.


Iana Boukova
is a Bulgarian poet, writer, translator, and essayist. Born in Sofia in 1968, she has a degree in Classics from Sofia University. She is the author of the poetry books Diocletian’s Palaces (1995), Boat in the Eye (2000), and Notes of the Phantom Woman (2018), the short story collections A as in Ànything (2006) and Tales With No Return (2016), and the novel Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow (2014). Her poems and short stories have been translated into Greek, Spanish, French, German, and Arabic, among others. English translations of her texts have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Best European Fiction 2017, Two Lines, Drunken Boat, Zoland Poetry, Take Five, and Absinthe.


Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center
of the American Literary Translators Association 7-8 November 2019

8 November 2019, 10:45am – 12:00 pm, Highland G. Art Omi Translation Lab 2019
Join the writers and translators from Translation Lab 2019 as they share and discuss their work. Every fall, Art Omi: Writers, a residency program in New York’s Hudson Valley, hosts four Englishlanguage translators along with the writers whose work is being translated into English. Translators working on various types of texts—from fiction and nonfiction to theater and poetry—enjoy a short, intensive residency that provides them with an integral stage of refinement and the chance to dialogue with writers about text-specific questions. Translation Lab also serves as an essential community-building environment for English-language translators who are working to increase the amount of international literature available to English-language readers.
Moderator: DW Gibson
Participants: Ekaterina Petrova and Iana Boukova, Mara Faye Lethem and Marta Orriols, Sung Ryu and Choi Eunyoung, Vala Thorodds and Kristin Omarsdottir, more...

European Literature Network

The European Literature Network presented on his site on Friday 18-th October 2019 extracts From TRAVELING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SHADOW by Iana Boukova, translated by Ekaterina Petrova. Ekaterina Petrova, is this year’s winner of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation’s competition for participation in the International Writers’ Residence in Norwich for her work on the translation of Boukova's “Travelling in the Direction of the Shadow”.
Chapter 1 Yovana or The Birth of the Hero (excerpt):
All that Yovana had left of him was a bite on her neck and an empty shirt. “Like a snake,” she said, after the first few months had passed. And though she said it to herself, the ‘s’ snapped like a whip and turned the scar violet. The shirt held an entire body inside itself, retained its outline through its scent, and at night slept next to her in the bed. But the shirt eventually gave up too, defeated by time, and nothing remained in it any longer. What could she do with a dead shirt but wash it and put it away in the trunk where it belonged, to never again take it out nor throw it out. The scar turned bloody every time she picked at it and tried to reproduce...


The Bulgarian Embassy in London hosted a literary evening with the participation of the renowned contemporary translator of Bulgarian literature Angela Rodel and Ekaterina Petrova, a young Bulgarian translator and this year’s winner of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation’s competition for participation in the International Writers’ Residence in Norwich. The evening began with a discussion of the importance and role of the translator, the challenges of translating Bulgarian literature into English, and the latest projects that both translators have worked on. These are Prof. Valery Stefanov’s book “Love Stories from the Babylonian Library” and “Travelling in the Direction of the Shadow” by Iana Boukova. The audience had the opportunity to hear excerpts from both works read in Bulgarian and English by their translators.

poetry now

A discussion on Poetry Now: A collective book of essays where seven poets - Vasilis Amanatidis, Orfeas Apergis, Phoive Giannise, Katerina Eliopoulou, Panagiotis Ioannidis, Iana Boukova and Theodoros Chiotis answer nine questions on contemporary poetics. The book deals with the relationship of poetry to public space, artistic form and aesthetic criteria. It also addresses the relationship with the ancestors, the construction of the self, poetry and knowledge, oratory, the body, historical and social circumstances, contemporary philosophy and theory, and the relationship of poetry with other forms of art.


by Iana Boukova. Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel

Published in Volume 24, Issue 1: World Hellenisms, Fall 2018 of Absinthe: A Journal of World Literature in Translation owned and operated by the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.

How can I explain that I don’t even need to dream? It’s enough just to look at the wall in my room. Or simply to look around. As a rule, when I try to retell my nightmares, I use the system for retelling nightmares. I sit on one of the guests’ laps and start crying silently. The guests are very impressed by silent crying. Far more so than by the loudest scream. “Oh,” they say, their lips rounding like zeroes. The first thing I see on their faces is annoyance. After surprise. Annoyance at their surprise.
The women most often cover my face in kisses. Their lips become damp from my tears, their cheeks also grow wet, their makeup smears and afterwards I have to wash it off my face. That bit with the kisses is convenient...

"The Stone Quarter"

European Literature Network

by Iana Boukova in Two Lines, Issue 25.
Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
We’re very proud that our newest issue of Two Lines, Issue 25, features a story from the under-appreciated nation of Bulgaria: “A Is for Anything,” an elliptical, obsessive story by the Bulgarian writer Iana Boukova, translated by Angela Rodel.
So to help inspire even more future translations from this rich literary tradition, here are 5 can’t-miss selections of poetry and fiction. It’s your intro the Bulgarian scene!
And make sure to purchase Two Lines 25 (or subscribe) to read Iana Boukova’s story—you’ll get that taste of Bulgarian lit, plus almost a dozen more languages in our new issue.

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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 - 2020, Iana Boukova
Contact e-mail: bukova.iana(at)gmail.com