Saturday, February 7, 2009

Edvin Sugarev

Edvin Sugarev was born in 1953 in Sofia. He graduated from Sofia University in 1979 and worked in the Institute of Literature of the Bulgarian Academy of Science. His dissertation was called “Bulgarian Literature after the First World War and German Expressionism."

In 1991, Sugarev was elected in to the Bulgarian Parliament. (I think it's safe to call him a Politically-Engaged Poet.)

Sugarev was a member of the Great National Assembly; this means that he helped write the current Constitution of Bulgaria. (Think about that for a second. A poet helped write the Bulgarian constitution.)

Sugarev used to serve as the Bulgarian ambassador to Mongolia and India. He resigned in 2002 to protest the election of Georgi Parvanov (a former member of the Bulgarian Communist Party) to the Bulgarian presidency.

He also has some strong feelings about Bulgaria’s lack of official position on the matter of Kosovo’s independence.

From Verve Magazine :

Sugarev’s poems carry the sarcastic spirit of the disappointed former political activist, but the very word “politics” is absent. His characters are animals, plants, and rarely people. The homeland is compared simultaneously with “fate,” an “ax,” and a “mother’s lap.” Sugarev’s sharp tongue makes the dark tone of his poems stronger, and he reads his work with an underlying passion.

When asked about his political career, Sugarev said, “I am one of the last active social figures from the beginning of the nineties who withdrew from politics. I did it late and it is at my account. I do not regret anything I have done. […] The mistake of all democratically thinking people [in Bulgaria] was that they made way too many compromises.”

Ivy Press Princeton is selling a bilingual edition of Edvin Sugarev's work. (Click on the link that says "Sample Poems" to see "Liminal Moments" in Bulgarian.)

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