I visit my homeland the way a snail tries
to fit back into his old shell.
Day after day I writhe inside,
The shell is rough and narrow, opens sores
on coddled parts
But I persist, eat tarator, cry over graves,
until I conform to my old contours. Finally,
I am here.
Snail is the most beautiful Bulgarian word,
says my son, who is studying the language.
I thought it meant love.
from: The Porcupine of Mind (Broadstone Books 2012)
The author writes in English and Bulgarian. The Porcupine of Mind contains poems written in English.
Katerina Stoykova is the author of poetry books in English and Bulgarian, most recently Second Skin (ICU, 2018, Bulgarian) and the bilingual Bird on a Window Sill (Signs, 2017, English and Bulgarian). The Bulgarian edition of How God Punishes was published by ICU in 2014 and won the Ivan Nikolov National Poetry Prize. Katerina is the editor and the main translator of The Season of Delicate Hunger: Anthology of Contemporary Bulgarian Poetry (Accents Publishing, 2014). For six years she hosted the literary radio show Accents on WRFL 88.1FM. In 2010, Katerina launched the independent literary press Accents Publishing. Katerina co-wrote the independent feature film Proud Citizen, directed by Thom Southerland, and acted in the lead role.
Photo credit: Katerina Stoykova
This blog post is part of #BulgarianLiteratureMonth.