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Haywire: New & Selected Poems
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About the Author

Luljeta Lleshanaku was born in Elbasan, Albania in 1968. Under Enver Hoxha's Stalinist dictatorship, she grew up under house arrest. Lleshanaku was not permitted to attend college or publish her poetry until the weakening and eventual collapse of the regime in the early 1990s. She later studied Albanian philology at the University of Tirana, and has worked as a schoolteacher, literary magazine editor and journalist. She won the prestigious International Kristal Vilenica Prize in 2009, and has had a teaching post at the University of Iowa and a fellowship from the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has given readings in America, Europe and in Ireland at the Poetry Now Festival in Dun Laoghaire in 2010. Haywire: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011) is her first British publication, and draws on two editions published in the US by New Directions, Fresco: Selected Poems (2002) and Child of Nature (2010), as well as a selection of newer work.

Reviews

'Luljeta Lleshanaku is a pioneer of Albanian poetry. She speaks with a completely original voice, her imagery and language always unexpected and innovative. Her poetry has little connection to poetic styles past or present in America, Europe, or the rest of the world. And, interestingly enough, it is not connected to anything in Albanian poetry either. We have in Lleshanaku a completely original poet' - Peter Constantine. 'Luljeta Lleshanaku's poems take place in a melancholy landscape of mountain villages, chestnut trees, and collapsing futures where spring kills solitude with its solitudeA" and the only emotional expression not considered a sign of weakness is impatience. The place of her poems is like a zero point that can only look out from itself in all directions at once. But the poet looks inward beyond paradox, and, instead of judgment, she finds recognition. In Lleshanaku's work, geography and soul are charted on the same map. The rhythms of her new poems are expertly managed to enact vulnerability and withdrawal. Her lines stretch out and suddenly retract into fragments with the sensitivity of snail horns.' - Forrest Gander, citation for the 2009 International Kristal Vilenica Prize 'These impressive poems carry a poignance much like the first buds of spring, a mark of survival and insistent life. In this bewildering human world such articulate determination proves again our common faith. Luljeta Lleshanaku speaks to us one and all' - Robert Creeley

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