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Preç Zogaj (translated into English by Gjekë Marinaj) speaks to the
collective experience of his people during the period leading up to and
immediately following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Zogaj's
introspection of a people just emerging from decades of life under one of
the world's most isolated and repressive dictatorships. The works
Albania's cities, mountains, and coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Regional
references include the cultural symbols of neighboring Greece, Zogaj's
religious heritage in Christian Northern Albania, and Islam (Albania's
predominant religion since the days of the Ottoman Empire). While
mentioning the influence of the Soviet era with a reference to Russian
poet Alexander Pushkin, these poems reveal Albania's strong identity
with the West, incorporating such places as Florence in Italy and
California in America, and such icons of European literature as
Shakespeare, Goethe, and Balzac. Many of the poems written in the
earlier part of the period evoke sad images of a traumatized people, who
were living in a countryside littered with arms and ammunition, including
chemical weapons from the communist era and land mines left over
from the Kosovo conflict.
Preç Zogaj

Occurrence on Earth
Selected Poems

Translated by
Gjekë Marinaj

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