Luljeta Lleshanaku

Luljeta Lleshanaku

Luljeta Lleshanaku was born in Elbasan, Albania. She grew up under house arrest during Enver Hoxha’s Stalinist regime. Lleshanaku has worked as a lecturer, literary magazine editor, journalist, and screenwriter, and is currently the research director at Tirana’s Institute of Studies of Communist Genocide. She is the author of eight poetry collections published in Albania. Her books have received many national and international awards and have been translated into several languages. New Directions also publishers her collections Child of Nature and Fresco: Selected Poems.

Negative Space

Poetry by Luljeta Lleshanaku

Translated by Ani Gjika

“Language arrived fragmentary / split in syllables / spasmodic / like code in times of war,” writes Luljeta Lleshanaku in the title poem to her powerful new collection Negative Space. In these lines, personal biography disperses into the history of an entire generation that grew up under the oppressive dictator- ship of the poet’s native Albania. For Lleshanaku, the “unsaid, gestures” make up the negative space that “gives form to the woods / and to the mad woman— the silhouette of goddess Athena / wearing a pair of flip-flops / and an owl atop her shoulder.…
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Child Of Nature

In Child of Nature, Lleshanaku explores her country’s past in powerful lyrics. Here she turns to the fallout of her country’s past and its relation to herself and her family, and explores how these histories intertwine and influence her childhood memories and the retelling of her family’s stories. Sorrow, death, imprisonment, and desire are some of the themes that echo deeply in Lleshanaku’s beautiful poems, poems that Peter Constantine has called ’contemporary classics of world literature.…
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Fresco

Fresco: Selected Poetry of Luljeta Lleshanaku introduces to English-speaking readers the arresting work of Luljeta Lleshanaku, one of Albania’s foremost younger poets. Born in Elbasan in 1968, she grew up under virtual house arrest because of her family’s opposition to the Stalinist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. She is foremost among the first generation of poets to emerge out of the cultural wasteland of enforced socialist realism in the arts, reinventing Albanian poetry almost entirely from scratch.…
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