On some issues of poetry manuscripts
In recent months, as the board of the Naim Frashëri State Publishing Company reports, several poetry manuscripts have been submitted, which, alongside ideologically healthy poems of a high artistic level, comprise also some creations that lapse into (the problems of) formalist and hermetic poetry, with obscure and unclear literary figures, thus exhibiting the flaws and defects that were criticized in the Fourth Plenary Session of the Party’s Central Committee on Literature and the Arts. Precisely these poems, a part of which are by known authors, have not been published. About these, and against the poetry editorial, some artists, mainly poets, have started saying that: “in the shelves of the Publishing Company sits the ‘best poetry’”, “in the poetry editorial there is a tendency to publish only those who are close”, and “that the real talent is not being published”. The authors of these allegations are either the authors of the unpublishable manuscripts themselves, or their reviewers.
The possibility of a rash or subjective evaluation on the part of the publishers of individual poems that were thus rejected but could have been published cannot be excluded. However, the main issue concerns the overall state of the manuscript, or a considerable number of the poems in it, which, in the version submitted by the author contained serious ideo-artistic defects and errors and were deemed unpublishable. In some of the volumes, one can sense the tendency to dazzle the reader, using superfluously terminology from the modern sciences, such as, the song of the nightingale shrouds “the ultrasounds and buzz of the insects”, the shipping wagons “whistle inertia”; displays of “the azure oscillations of luminescent screens”, “the blue-white suniosites of the trains”, “radio-active gall” etc.
Or by using troublesome imagery:
“Life constitutes herself through the beauty of love”, “The fountains are the hair of the workers digging canals”… “beyond the window lies the reality on which the rains’ lips full of kisses/ fall on streets thirsty for the steps of progress”: “Moon regurgitated by the sheep/ along with the blades of grass/ moon swallowed by the combines”.
On Visar Zhiti
Several times he has submitted volumes exhibiting serious formalist lapses. The poem “Winter Tales” is typical.
Come, come – said the woman. She did not raise her lantern to see who I was. It was enough for her to see that my face was that of a human being. I entered into a large room with men and women. I was soaking wet, tired. I
was clad in the soaked attire of King Lear.
The poem is a typical example of the fusion between poetry and prose. The manner of figuration normal to modernism leads the author to bring us such verses, which appear artificial and troublesome:
Why was this city covered in ruins
by that damned earthquake or the bloody war?
These ruins seem like the disheveled hair of a lover
who will soon brush them prettier still.
In the poem, “What I would have said to Migjeni in 1937”, the author writes:
Oh, within you a wolf’s howl is heard mixed with stars.
To the pretty Borsalino you can find the solution
you can fling it in a corner, you can even kick it
like you would an annoying dog,
your coat will get ragged despite your values,
your shoes have no clue about the road you will take, they are torn.
Your tie makes no sense
if it becomes a noose fastened around your neck.
Regardless of these flaws, in its entirety our poetry displays a healthy ideological content, it remains unshakably lodged in the teachings of the Party and our Comrade Enver Hoxha, and fulfills its mission with dignity.
We propose that the League of Writers organize a meeting with the poets, where they may touch on some of these problems of poetry and of these foreign manifestations in the unpublished works. We suggest that this be lead by someone with authority among our poets, perhaps Comrade Dritëro himself, so that he may help the poets and influence them as best he can.
The Press Department – Miti Tona
07 – 27 – 1979
Ramiz Alia’s note on the Report:
Speak with Comrade Dritëro Agolli, so that the League may organize a creative discussion over these problems, and concretely over these “poems” and other issues. They must criticize them strongly as being foreign to our art. There should be no leniency. They must cut off all paths to such perverse endeavors opposed to socialist realism. Do not underestimate this problem because it may prove dangerous. Notify me of the results.
09 – 01 – 1979
Ramiz Alia to Jakup Mato, Instructor at the Central Committee
The Publishing Office and the press organs have acted justly in rejecting the flawed “Work”. There should be no leniency, whether in literature, in art, or in culture.
Our organs (The Ministry of Education, the League of Writers, the Youth’s Central Committee, etc.) must be concerned with the fact that so much effort is wasted (I am referring to those defective artworks). And even more they must be concerned with regard to these authors who produce works containing ideological errors. This must also concern the organs and committees of the Party. How to educate them? Let us help them! Whether from the artistic point of view (through schooling, courses, creative discussions) or the ideological and educational point of view. I am in full agreement with the proposed measures. They must be enforced. In the case of someone or other also take this matter to the end in coordination with the appropriate organs.
12 – 28 – 1979