Ana Pepelnik

Slovenia

Ana Pepelnik is a poet and translator. Her first book of poetry, One of the Ways How to Treat a Secret (Ena od variant, kako ravnati s skrivnostjo), was published by LUD Literatura in 2007; two years later, in 2009, the same publisher put out her second book, The Orange Pulse of Traffic Lights (Utrip oranžnih luči na semaforjih), in 2009, and her third, A Whole Eternity (Cela večnost), in 2013. She translates poetry written by young and not so young generations of American poets, her translated authors thus include Joshua Beckman, Matthew Zapruder, Matthew Rohrer, Noelle Kocot, Jeffiner Clement as well as James Schuyler and Elizabeth Bishop. In the rest of her free time she works as a speaker at the independent Radio Student and as a researcher of voice at numerous verbal/auditory/silent/screech/noise events, e.g. in the context of the international Metropoetica project and as the third wheel of the CPG group. She prefers to live, work and sleep in Ljubljana.


Ana Pepelnik was born in 1979 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her debut poetry collection titled Ena od variant kako ravnati s skrivnostjo (One of the variants of how to treat a secret) was published in 2007 and was nominated for the Best Poetry Debut Award. Her second book was published two years later in 2009 under the tile Utrip oranžnih luči na semaforjih (The pulse of orange traffic lights). Two years ago her third book with an ironic title came out: Cela večnost (For an eternity). The title among other things obviously refers to an »eternity of silence«. At the moment she is preparing her fourth poetry collection. In May 2015 her magnificent poem tehno went viral, it was shared in and outside the literary community, which in itself is already a success. Shortly after that her fourth poetry collection was published – this time it wore the name Pod vtisom (Under influence).

Beside being a poet she also translates poetry, mostly from English to Slovene and the other way around. She translates mostly American authors, such as Elizabeth Bishop, James M. Schuyler, Matthew Zapruder, Joshua Beckman, Noelle Kocot and Matthew Rohrer. Due to her investment, we can also read the work of two Slovene poets, namely Tone Škrjanec and Primož Čučnik, in English. She participates in the international poetry multimedia project Metropoetica. She is also active as a spoken-word performer, she gives voice to live poetry (poetic) performances (in cooperation with the poet Andrej Hočevar and in a trio CPG Impro).

In the introduction to Ana's debut collection Urban Vovk, a central Slovenian literary critic and editor wrote: »Ana's debut...(...)...is, to put it in ultimate terms, no more and no less than one of the variants of how to make something with words. Although her poetry procedures are not immensely innovative or fresh, her writing, at least that is the impression, is being realized exactly by the project and the consciousness of building a »private language system«. That is how her dismisal of punctuation, the playfulness of language, which like to stay close to an elastic flow of words...(...)...can be understood.« The critic noted that Ana's »language system« leans on such flow of words which is to be found in proverbs, phrases, primal modes of childish speech – all of these categories depend on language's proper measures, where words are used only to name things, to align with the factual world as much as possible. The fact that she leans on those modes does not imply that she stays with them till the bitter end: she contrasts that with a severely »Ana-like world of uneasy and insecure words which are used and arranged as Lego blocks...(...)...This is not a poetry that would care much for the penetration to the core of things or for the pseudoprophetic declaration of final answers to final questions about great secrets. More than that she cares for details. More than for 'descriptive statements' she cares for a 'light' usage of language that distances itself from grammatical rules and common understanding. And if she still cares for 'the truth' in that, then she pays attention to it's nuances and contrasts. Her world is a table world, where everybody can choose for themselves, where they want to meet life and where everything starts and ends with words, which are being put down on paper...(...)...Anybody who will read the collection will most probably start asking themselves, where a secret and and a poem begins, what is left of a poem, when a secret is being told, how a secret can be told as a poem and, of course, how a secret can remain hidden, as the meaning of a poem remains hidden, when we delve into a dangerous game of words, which 'are a secret to themselves'.«

The pulse of orange traffic lights was a completely different story, according to Adam Wiedemann. The poetess left her slightly – and intentionally - gullible stance of the debut behind and started to actively oppose or at least discuss traditions and currents of Slovene poetry. In her second book the pretentiousness of contemporary European poetry became something she was ready to undermine – still in her soft and kind way, but nevertheless obvious.

The poet Katja Perat, who notices that not much has changed for or in the poetess, chose the following words to describe Ana's last collection: »Before you lays a poetry which is for it's own gentleness still willing to pay with it's sensitivity, which is always only a step away from fear and therefore only a step away from beauty. If you are ready to follow it through the narrow streets of current perception and permanent enchantment, you can pick a full basket of light on the way, which will shine in places, where all other light fades.«