Jernej Županič

Slovenia

Jernej Županič (Ljubljana, 1982) is a Slovene translator, poet and novelist. He studied contemporary literature and philosophy at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. He has authored one poetry collection, titled Tatar (Tatar, LUD Literatura, 2016) and two novels, namely Mamuti (Mammoths, LUD Literatura, 2018) and Behemot (The Behemoth, Beletrina, 2019).


Županić's only poetry collection so far is also a unique poetry collection – a surprise, a novelty in the temple of contemporary Slovene poetry. Nominated for best literary debut in 2017, the collection does not belong to any of the two prevalent currents of Slovene poetry, it is neither narrative nor linguistic. It combines these two worlds and results in an enigma: yes, we understand what is being written, but the meaning remains mysterious. Where narrative poetry develops a strong bond to »outside« reality, Županić's poems develop a strong bond to, well, themselves. The greatest advantage of Tatar is the fact that is not obsessed by authenticity or by experience at all. The images are not subjugated to draw an inner life or an experience, they are not burdened by metaphorical value – they are, simply, alegorical. They function as concrete abstractions, without political content, as well as without irony. The poems are driven by an easy delight, even joy, far from the metaphysical »weight of it all«. 

 

Exactly because Tatar does not aspire to eternity, because it is in a way devoid of all meaning and authenticity, even of all metaphysical categories, because it is not driven by emotions or desire,... all that is left to it is simply a delight in being. It is not meant for the author who is not present anyway, nor for the reader, despite being comprehensible. It is happy with itself and does not call for a fight, an understanding or any type of communication. It is a pure aesthetic phenomenon, building it's own aesthetic world where motifs – often repeated – become more and more concrete with each new turn.