Janko Polić Kamov – Poe
An extract – translated by Martin Mayhew
Turgenjev brings tears to our eyes; Maupassant tickles our lips; Poe makes our hair stand on end: the first grabs us by the heartstrings, the second by the spirit, the third by the nerves.
Tears, a smile and a chill – those are their comments, and not erudition. Because erudition is just the comment of comments and one hair of a sensitive intellectual is more competent in the understanding of Poe, than all the dissertations of bald professors.
To me Poe appears like an ominous bird, which has flown over the mute field of our inner self; and when it plunged somewhere into space, it left a shadow of its great, black wings behind itself. Or even like the memory of a cat’s eyes in the dark; of a dog’s tucked under tail on a deserted road; of a snake’s tongue on a scorched cliff; of the ridge of a dolphin on an oily surface and of the shadows of the deceased that pull us by the legs in a dream.
And this is why Poe is mysterious – because of the fear irrational like all beauty and mysticism, living buried in the hands of our psyche, where in the glory of the Absurd they were also born.
Poe’s life was quite miserable so even a Croatian literate could envy him………
This is an extract from the full essay that Kamov wrote in Punat on the island of Krk, 7th April 1910. The full text is available in the book ‘The Curse’ – the collection of Kamov’s poems which he published in 1907 as ‘Psovka’, translated into English. ‘The Curse’ is available as a paperback from Modernist nakladništvo here.
It is also available on Amazon and all other ebook channels.
Translation – all rights reserved © Martin Mayhew