Aleš Šteger’s The Word Bare translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry

The word bare

The word BARE.
To his
Only language.
More silent
Than bare.
More a place
Than its
Exchangeable name.
More movement
Through the possibility
Of a place
That negates
In its creation.
A silhouette
To the corner
Of a bedroom
In a house
That has not yet
Been built
On the edge
Of a town
That has not yet
A meadow.
But the word
Does not grow.
Bare soil.
Buried in it.
Dust among dust.
With a face
To the sky.
It starts to rain.
The bare word
Slowly sinks in
The dug-up mud.
A body that
Disappears into
A quotation.

About the translator:

Brian Henry is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently Static & Snow (Black Ocean, 2015). He co-edited the international magazine Verse from 1995 to 2017 and established the Tomaž Šalamun Prize in 2015. His translation of Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things appeared from BOA Editions in 2010 and won the Best Translated Book Award. He also has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices (Harcourt, 2008) and Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers (BOA, 2015). His poetry and translations have received numerous honors, including an NEA fellowship, a Howard Foundation grant, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize, the Cecil B. Hemley Memorial Award, the George Bogin Memorial Award, and a Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences grant.

Read more translations on our website here.

About the author

Slovenian writer Aleš Šteger has published seven books of poetry, three novels, and two books of essays. A Chevalier des Artes et Lettres in France and a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, he received the 1998 Veronika Prize for the best Slovenian poetry book, the 1999 Petrarch Prize for young European authors, the 2007 Rožanč Award for the best Slovenian book of essays, and the 2016 International Bienek Prize. His work has been translated into over 15 languages, including Chinese, German, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, and Spanish. He has published four books in English: The Book of Things appeared from BOA Editions in 2010 as a Lannan Foundation selection and won the 2011 Best Translated Book Award; Berlin, a collection of lyric essays, appeared from Counterpath Press in 2015; Essential Baggage, a book of prose poems, appeared from Equipage in England in 2016; and the novel Absolution, which appeared in England in 2017.

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