An instrumental figure at the core of 21st century Bulgarian poetics, Ivan Hristov’s poetics are as variable and layered as the modern history of the country itself. As an educator and organiser, Hristov has been the driving force behind the Sofia poetics festival, bringing poets from around Europe to witness and interact with a surging new generation of poets emerging from the city, and as a poet himself, his connection and fusion with English language poetry has produced a unique style and cadence within his output which has gained plaudits from across the continent and America. Another figure in European poetry who conceives of organisation as a responsibility alongside his own practise, we are pleased to introduce Ivan Hristov as the 95th respondent of the Maintenant series.
Accompanying the interview are three of Ivan's poems, translated by Angela Rodel.
Modernism in Bulgaria contradicted the totalitarian doctrine known as “socialist realism.” Even though some scholars claim that socialist realism began as an avant garde offshoot of modernism, the two approaches conflict. This led to repression against many modernist writers by both extremely left-wing and extremely right-wing regimes. Modernism means “freedom” above all, followed by “individualism.” The first stage in Bulgarian modernism is called “individualism.” Freedom and individualism are the two things totalitarianism hates the most. Modernism was marginalized after the Second World War. During the 1960s, due to the partial liberalization of the totalitarian regime in Bulgaria, some modernist writers were rehabilitated and interest in their work was revived. But true interest in modernism began at the end of the totalitarian epoch, when new postmodern literature used the foundation of modernism as its steppingstone.
In the 95th of the Maintenant series, SJ Fowler interviews the Bulgarian poetIvan Hristov.