It’s Friday morning, and the avid listeners of the most popular podcast ever, Serial, likely heard the last episode of the season sometime yesterday. (If not, no worries. No spoilers here.) There's something special about the format, the way the story unfolds, moving backward and forward across wrinkles and obsessions. There's something, dare I say, poetic about the ways the episodes talk back and forth with each other that resonates, too, with the way series of poems work with and against each other, troubling and teasing expectations in what Air Schooner Episode 41 calls "series syndrome."
Macedonian poet and translator Nikola Madzirov visited UNL as a Prairie Schooner visiting writer. Yesterday (Wednesday 4/18) he gave a talk on the characteristics of Balkan literature. Madzirov linked the formal developments in Balkan literature with the historical-social movements of the times. Balkan literature, he claimed, tends to gloss the personal with the epic, the intimate with the mythic. Madzirov also spoke of his own journey as someone grateful to be able to leave home "by choice" instead of by exile. Finally, he offered some advice to translators, including the following: "The imperfection of language is one of its greatest perfections."