Mirka Abelova

- Slovakia -

Miroslava Ábelová is a Slovak poet, radio presenter, translator and lyricist. She studied journalism at the Faculty of Arts of Comenius University in Bratislava. She made her debut in 2011 in the collective collection Solo for 9 Voices, in the same year she published her own debut collection of poems Striptease. Since then, she has published several books of poetry (Na! - 2014, Poems for housewives - 2016, The Eternal Feeling of Sunday - 2018). Her most recent collection of poetry to date was published in 2022 under the title HOME. On Radio_FM she hosts the poetic ten-minute programme Sunday Moment of Poetry_FM. She has written lyrics for the Czech musician David Koller (album ČeskosLOVEnsko, for which she won a statue of the Czech Academy Anděl - best album). She also wrote a verse fairy tale for children Moko the Dog and His Eye, she also wrote several fairy tales for children about cats Pac and Bác (www.pacabac.sk) .Her poetry collection Poems for housewives has been published in translation by Les Beley in the Ukrainian (Bірші для домогосподарок, TOV "Kopmaniya-Krok", 2021). The book Moko the Dog and His Eye was published in Czech translation by Emil Hakl (Grada publishing house, 2021).

The Profane World of Mirka Ábelová


Heaven under our head

The Meridian, the speech that Paul Celan read on 22nd October 1960, upon receiving the Georg Büchner Prize, is not only Celan’s poetics, but also perhaps the most important essay on lyricism as a paradigm of modern literature after the Second World War. 

It is a difficult essay, as all Celan’s poetry is difficult. For Celan, the process of writing poetry lies in its antonym – the antithesis of poetry. In Büchner’s eponymous prose poem, on 20 January 1778, Lenz walks through the mountains to the parson Oberlin, “only sometimes he was uncomfortable of not being able to walk on his head”. Celan says in the essay that he who walks on his head has the sky below him as an abyss.  And when referring to the process of writing poetry: it is being lonely and left speechless, being very close to openness and freedom, close to utopia. It means “ins Offene gehen”, “to open up”, and it is poetry in its purity and at its extremes. It is waxing lyrically when writing poetry. In this sense, it is the antithesis of the language bound by itself.

But what does Mirka Ábelová’s poetry have to do with it? We can say all sorts of things about her poetry but certainly not that it is a paradigm of modern lyricism. What does it mean, however, when in the poetry collection Večný pocit nedele/The Eternal Feeling of Sunday/ (Bratislava : Artforum, 2018) in her poem Túžba plodiť /The desire to procreate/ she writes: 

je neúprosná // Cez deň sa smejú na ženách / ktoré zúfalé po akte / robia ´sviečku´/ aby ani kvapka nevyšla nazmar // Keď sa večer odíde umyť / ona drží nohy v ´sviečke´// Pristihne ju / Tvári sa / že chce nimi zavrieť strešné okno // Okno je privysoko/ lož a nohy prikrátke“

(“she is relentless // During the day they both laugh at women / who desperate after making love / do a “candle pose” / so that not a drop gets wasted // When she goes to wash in the evening / she holds her thighs, calves and feet in a “candle pose” / She gets caught in the act by him / and pretends / that she just wants to close the skylight with them // the window is too high / a little fib but lies have short legs, too short”.)  

Is it even possible to imagine that a candle pose is the equivalent of walking on your head? At first, second or third glance, this poem has nothing to do with heaven as an abyss. Nevertheless, it does. In Celan and Büchner, the image of walking on one’s head and the abyss of heaven is an inversion of the sublime. In Mirka Ábelová’s poem, the image of the “candle pose” is Celan and Büchner’s profane obverse side. What unites the two images, for all their contradictions, is the quality of life being absolute and the quality of poetry being absolute. In the works of Celan, it is obvious, in the works of Ábelová, it is seemingly impossible.


Is this supposed to be poetry?

We pathetically hear that modern lyricism is the sacrum in Slovak literature, the sacred huge break for poetry. This is undoubtedly true, keeping in mind the works from Krasko and Rúfus to Ondruš and Laučík. More informally, it is a mystery, an enigma. Undoubtedly true, the works from Novomeský and Válek to Strážay and Štrpka. Today’s poets are actually orphans. They don’t belong anywhere. Because lyricism as a paradigm of modern literature once got stuck in the seventies, eighties, and since then we hear that they are just narratives, nothing but narratives.   

But what about those lyricists like Milan Adamčiak who ran the bow across the board and made huge sounds? They remained lonely. We called it experimental poetry at first, and after fifty years (and I am talking about myself too) we discovered that optical poetry has had a long tradition, one of the oldest. And what about the songs? Not only those of Válek whose tunefulness of singing was intuitively heard by Marián Varga, or those songs of Štrpka, whom Dežo Ursiny dedicated all his life but also those of Milan Lasica and Rudolf Skukálek (really, Skukálek’s songs too? Really.). And what about the cabaret songs of Peter Breiner and Ján Štrasser? Is this really supposed to be poetry?  And the dadaistic lyrics of Ľubor Benkovič and Michal Kaščák for the group Bez ladu a skladu? Peteraj’s and Štrasser’s songs for the Cyrano z predmestia /Cyrano of the Suburbs/ musical and Štrasser’s songs for Alta Vášová’s children’s and non-children’s musicals too? And what about the cheeky songs of Lucia Piussi, almost as cheeky as her obscene stories that you do well to avoid? The obscene rhymes of Andrej Stankovič, Vladimír Archleb and Gusto Dobrovodský?  Moreover, in the vague trace of Ivan Magor Jirous’s poetic conversation with Erik Groch, the author of Baba Yaga. Ivan Magor Jirous writes about Erik in the magic mushrooms delirium

„A tehdy jsem pochopil / co říká sv. František // že i kámen dýchá // šel jsem po lese // a všetko malo oči“.

(“And then I have understood / what St. Francis means // when he says that even a stone breathes // I was walking in the woods // and everything stared at me”.)

And Erik answers him:

„Tvorivé sú len zjavenia, viditeľné // z detskej radosti, že sme ich nepreru- //šovali; sklonené sú všetky slová, // pod privretými viečkami sa sníva večná // ruža, len na chvíľu a z časti zazretá.“

(“Only revelations are creative that are clearly visible // of the childish joy that we have not inter- // rupted; all words are bowed, // beneath closed eyelids the eternal // rose is dreamed, only for a moment and slightly glimpsed.”) 

And what about rap of Petržalka district – Bratislava? And the Instagram poem? Is that poetry? And Mirka Ábelová?


Mirka Ábelová

Mirka Abelová jumps on one leg. It is almost like clapping with one hand, and it is a Kóan. In 2011, her collective poetry collection made its debut, and nothing happened. Under a pseudonym, she won the literary competition Poems of 2012, and still only a little happened. This was only a little repeated in 2014 after she published her poetry collection Na! /Here you are!/, and in 2016, after she published Básničkách pre domáce paničky /Poems for Housewives/. Her translations of Canadian poet with Indian roots Rupi Kaur’s Instagram poems such as Milk and Honey (2018) and The Sun and Her Flowers (2019) which were published in pop editions but also have the Kóan poems such as “your body / is a museum / of natural disasters / do you understand how amazing it is?” have gone unnoticed by anyone here except insiders. If it weren’t for journalism, we wouldn’t even find out that she writes lyrics for David Koller. But we sat together on Nedeľná chvíľka poézie_FM /Sunday Poetry_FM/ radio session and I loved it; this is how poetry should be read out loud. 

Mirka Ábelová would like to be on the spot, or at least at the heart of poetry, but who beats the air? Academically educated young ladies turn up their noses, it does not fit into the sacrum or at least the canon in Slovak poetry.


A child of its age

Mirka Ábelová is a child of her age. She dresses like a child of her age, she lives like a child of her age, she already loved sex and rock and roll like a child of her age, now she loves her son Vilo, I am not sure if she loves him like a child of her age, because she rebelled against all the odds but like a mother. Bigger breasts that she proudly calls titties in the poem (that is what we used to call them as boys), she might have acquired not only through pregnancy, but also, according to the recipe writer Jozef Koleják, thanks to an herb from Greece. Occasionally, she swears like Jana Krejcarová by change, and occasionally, she farts. Her poetic openness and her sincere, best self charmed Kamil Peteraj who once said as deux ex machina: “This girl rocks!” – “Look, another barbarian from Bratislava, a poet of the city, and in a skirt too!” exclaimed Andrijan Turan about the author whom Ľubomír Feldek called similarly – Ferlinghetti in a skirt.

Charles Bukowski rubbed shoulders with her but that’s so out of the way. Nevertheless, it all goes together somehow well in today’s heterogeneous world, only Mirka Ábelová does not want to be serious and important enough.


Večný pocit nedele /The eternal feeling of Sunday/

Could it be poeticism? Teige and Nezval style combined with a sense of felicity? Not likely. As Mirka Ábelová says at times, maternity leave is not a holiday. It is rather the feeling of Peter Pan who does not want to and cannot grow up. And in our case, Ninfa moderna inspired in Aby Warburg’s ninfa florentina, the embodiment of desire in times of historical upheaval, “a beautiful revelation dressed in ruffed robes, coming from God-knows-where, walking in gusts of wind, always moving, not always particularly sensible, almost always erotic, occasionally disturbing” (Georges Didi-Huberman). Ninfa moderna, nursing Dionysus, the protector of the springs or the creature bringing destruction to the people. In a state of clinamen, of inclination that leads to a fall, to the inclination of the body.

The poems of The Eternal Feeling of Sunday are anxious. They defend themselves with sense of humor that serious Slovak poetry hates. Humour moves between two zig zag railways. One is the human response to anxiety and fear of death. Henri Bergson regards laughter as a mechanism that copes with death as the individual limitation of life in its infinite flow. Sigmund Freud speaks of jokes as a form of pleasure in overcoming fright. As psychiatrist Jozef Hašto points out that Freud is referring to defense mechanisms against what is immoral, forbidden, and that in joke, in comedy, and in humor, the relaxing transgression of the forbidden is permitted.  Hašto, on the other hand, emphasizes the creative component of humor over the reactive one: “Man has a strongly developed exploratory and playful instinct, and when he discovers something new, he is rewarded with a delightful feeling, which can of course be accompanied by a smile or even laughter.” Both zig zag railways form extreme points on a broad spectrum of humor between reacting to defense mechanisms against anxiety, shock and fear and creative activity releasing laughter. This is the humor of Mirka Ábelová's poetry and its creatural physicality, excretion, milk splashing and bodily feelings of resentment. These may not be pathetically sublime feelings but in any case, they are feelings of sublimity between humor and awe. Mirka Ábelová writes poems of eruption. Eruption is a very, very profane form of epiphany.

It is a poem in a car in which “The Holy Trinity / Mother, Son and Dog the Saint,” and it is a Kóan, a poem “without the thoughts / of Motherhood, without the metaphors.”  Essentially, these are poems of melancholic intuition.



This is not the poetics of a metaphor, in modern times, binary, avant-gardely bold, postmodernly paradoxical. It is the poetics of a minimalist, free Kóan, unbound by the seventeen syllables of haiku. Very civil, very profane, like that: “Don’t look back! Keep pedaling!” And the Kóan of Marián Mudroch: “I have met the darkness. She was looking for the light!” 

It is a litany of modulated poetics, as Jana Juhásová has noted, a serial poetics of minimalist poetry full of small nuances of meaning. An elliptical poetry of abbreviation. It is a poetry that has its precise rhythm, tone, melody, a poetry that sounds. 

It is an intuitive poetry where you must search.



Is this poetry? This is poetry.


Peter Zajac