Eva Luka

- Slovakia -

Eva Luka, is a poetess and a writer. She has been writing poetry from childhood, and has won a number of literary contests for children and adults. She studied interpreting-translating, English and Japanese at Comenius University and then she spent eight years in Japan, studying, interpreting, teaching English and especially working on her PhD thesis in Japanese literature (Abe Kóbó, Suna no onna, The Woman in the Dunes, Ósaka University). After her stay in Japan she spent four years in Spain, teaching English and Japanese. She has translated a lot of poems and short stories from English and Japanese into Slovak. Her own first collection of poems Divosestra (The Wild Sister) was published in 1999 and attracted the attention of readers and critics (for this book Luka gained Rubato Award, Krasko Award, Literary Revue Award, Haľamová Award). Her second book Diabloň (The Devil Tree) was published in 2005 and the third one, Havranjel (The Ravenangel) in 2011. Luka's poems have been translated into many world languages, including for example Hindu. She works on several prosaic books and plans to publish a novel for children with her own illustrations. In present she teaches at Trnava University, Slovakia.

Eva Luka is a poet and a sensualist, who, in spite of linguistic abstractions, experiences poetry in a physical way. Her poems often have their origin in intense emotional experiences, wherein a particular instance is enriched by a dream, visions and fantastical pictures with an archetypal background. Her poems do not lack causality, but the large influence of emotions and the focus on subconscious testimony weakens the poetic logic. Luka’s poetry can be easily described as a definition of depth psychology. She usually tries to capture instinctually dynamic relationships dealing with emotions and will. She stimulates in the reader points embedded deep within and which are at the polar opposite of one’s rational centre. She activates those layers which form a person but which do not have their own language of verbal expression. The readers’ reaction is radical and excited, just like Luka was before and during the process of writing.


Luka’s poetry contains both existential and tragic dramatic tones. In her first two books, there is still an unclear origin for these tones, which are obscured by a secret or connected to an intuitive perception. However, later on menacing images increasingly appear, specifically in the tragic experiences of the death of a partner and children (Diabloň, Havranjel). The most common motifs are poison and blood: these are on the border between life and death and often predetermine this boundary. However, not even in this case are the motifs clear and closed. Throughout Luka’s work, meanings change and maintain their neutral hue of signification (e.g. poison in a small dose as a medicine and the bloody ‘sacrificial’ woman during childbirth). However, more often they embody symbols of final loss and waste.


Luka’s poetry has a particular way of addressing the issue of womanhood, which is shown in the dual lens of a universal gender role ('fried’, ‘wild sisters’), in particular everyday experiences with such an identity and its biological dimension and determination, motherhood, sexuality, partnership with a man and life after its loss. Luka depicts the woman’s world in a direct manner, without fear of breaking aesthetic conventions or social taboos (e.g. physicality, instinct, desire and erotic climax). Her naturalistic and in places raw exposure is systemic and related to the fact that her poems are oriented towards the fullness of ideas and experiences. This creates a sensual stimulation and an associative connection in the accumulation of works. Luka is not a poet who offers a thrifty testimony; she overuses adjectives and appositions; she uses these to offer nuances and saturate images. Luka does not ‘release’ her poems easily. She makes her texts as long as they need to be in order to bring forth their dramatic element and emotionality, and to allow for the creation of a rhythm of verbalised images which abruptly shatter when the core point is made.  


The collections Hlbokozelená žena/Deep Green Woman and Divosestra/Wild Sister expand Luka’s thematic preoccupations to include her poetic travel accounts from Japan, where she studied Japanese language and literature from 1993 to 1995 and 1998 to 2002. Gradually, however, the influences of the exoticness of East Asian culture fade away (Diabloň). In the collection Havranjel this preoccupation is replaced by texts where Luka poetically defines objects – see the poems Tráva/Grass, Motýľ /Butterfly, Kameň/Stone, Slnečnica/Sunflower and others. This group of poems has helped Luka realise her place in the world and though an active engagement with it therapeutically undergo new aesthetic experiences which balance out personal tragedy.