Robert Simonišek

- Slovenia -

Robert Simonišek (1977) is a poet, writer and art historian and currently lives in Celje, Slovenia. He studied philosophy and art history, he also received a doctoral degree from the latter. His poetry debut was published in 2003 under the title Drowned Catalogue (Potopljeni katalog), his second collection, namely Autoportrait Without a Map (Avtoportret brez zemljevida) followed five years later. His so far latest collection are Migrations (Selitve, 2013). Simonišek's texts are translated into different languages, his work has been included in several domestic and foreign anthologies. He collected and translated into Slovene poems by Desmond Egan and a novel by William Trevor. The author gained domestic critical acclaim with his psychologically crafted novel The Room Under The Castle (Soba pod gradom, 2013), which was nominated for the Slovene novel of the year. His relationship to poetry, art and the world was articulated in the essay collection The Crash of Spaces (Trk prostorov, 2015), which in 2016 received a prize for the best Slovene essayist work of the year.

In the past ten years Robert traveled Europe and stayed in very different places which certainly influenced his writing. These experiences enriched his writing with reflections on difference and otherness. In versatile topics of his work nature and visual art are depicted as a source of inspiration and contentment, whereas existential conflicts and the paradoxality of the contemporary man are the internal agens of his literature. In his article An Amazingly Smooth Prose The Slovene journalist Igor Bratož noticed Simonišek's specific contemplativity which envelopes his works.


In terms of topics and style Migrations is Simonišek's most precise poetry collection. Author deals with »provincial spaces« a lot, rural as well as urban, which influenced him in his childhood and adolescence. But these do not only show to old wounds, but are a showing forward towards the true and the beautiful. They are asylums for thought and reflections of the present. The critique Petra Koršič wrote. »This is a poetry of passing, of contemplation, presence, growth. It is as waiting in the hallways, stepping on the staircase after we've thought about certain things, after we are done with the inventory, after we've cleaned the drawers and all that is left behind it the unsaid.« The critique claims that Migrations are Simonišek's most mature, most thought through and decisive collection.


The themes of his first two collections are sharpened in Migrations, which focus on »transitional« problems of his generation and social anomalies that derive from that. The reviewer Tjaša Plazar claims that despite their melancholic atmosphere they appear to be »lightweight, spontaneous, effortlessly written and have an effect of an airplane ticket into the unknown«. In the same collection poet Zoran Pevec finds autobiographical traces, the sinhronicity of memory and the present, changeability and that, which remains: »The world of adulthood is placed in the cool of 'airport aluminium', the world of youth in the intuitive perception of the environment. The verses surprise with the power of round poetic vibrations.«


In one of his interviews Simonišek speaks about creativity as internal neccessity and denies the possibility of only relying on conceptuality. The individual experience remains the staple of his articulation of the world, in poetry as well as in prose: »Because of progress and digitalization concrete spaces are losing their importance in literature. When you first step into a certain space, it starts to tell you a story. When you leave it, it becomes a spiritual entity, which speaks through memory. Every individual is a unique interference of such real and imaginary spaces.«




»Even as the train stands, we are only nomads.

We are waiting for the sun doors to be pushed

and through them shines someone

who knows whence we come from.« *


Poems published on Versopolis were originally published in the Migrations poetry collection and translated by Robert Simonišek and Katarina Ana Rakušček.