A new poetry collection by Aleš Šteger, published by Fraktura and translated by Edo Fičer, has just hit the bookstores
Despite their formal differences, Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things and The Book of Bodies are a unique poetic diptych developed for over a decade. The Book of Things [Knjiga stvari] is one of the most translated European poetry books in the last two decades, while the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described The Book of Bodies [Knjiga tijela] as “a call to reflect on the limitations of our language.” Its translation in English has been awarded with two prestigious prizes as the best translated poetry collection in the US. Both books have been compiled in a single volume.
Šteger’s poetry takes us through a double turn of separation and incarnation, residing in the utopian space of in-between and recording the irreversible merger of body parts with things, times and places. The seemingly contradictory tendencies make up the two sides of the same method of pursuit, constructing non-places, where, ultimately, words should be residing. The word is at its rightful place, but such a place in non-existent, as The Book of Bodies tells us. The word is not “in any place”, but rather “at its beyond.” As Gilles Deleuze says, the limits of language are not determined by the exterior of things and bodies in time and space. Šteger’s poetry doesn’t venture to the inside to seek some profound harmony, but it remains where the exteriors touch (the exteriors of language, bodies, things), where we can sense words that have no body of its own, where we read bodies that have no language of their own, where thing which have no life of their own come to life.