Dissident Editions



albanian poems of dissidence

poems of the month

orpheus in soho

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face


old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

wine and roses

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's
ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic






good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper




the three bears

three albanian tales

a little creation story



one not one

an occitanian baby-hatch

ancient violence
in the amazon

home, sweet home no longer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars


londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

in britain & america

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

a holy dog
& a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

ireland & the phallic continuum

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

a small town in france


western values


the problems of translating poetry

an albanian ikon ?

albanian donkeys

the bektashi dervishes

poems by ujko BYK

albanian love-poems

albanian poems of dissidence

albanian poems of exile

recent albanian poems

albanian emigration

beyond the albanian experience


horatio morpurgo's albanian trip

albanian short stories

map of albania

the dictator's library







a canadian-albanian film
about the
"sworn virgins" of northern albania





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Near Butrint, South-western Albania


by Nexhat Hakiu

translated by Anthony Weir

The happy or the bored
may ask what love is -
but it doesn't have descriptiveness.
Its qualities are wordless.

You feel it secretly and slowly.
It's there and you don't realise
it's living in your heart.

A flower may be plucked,
a pearl or cloth of gold
be snatched and fought over.

The caged bird sings its heart out
and if you freed it, it would also sing
far from you and everyone.

Love is not flower
nor pearl
nor caged bird
but a formless dweller in the heart.

That's what love is:
less than happiness.


Kliko këtu për versionin shqip.
Click here for Albanian version.



by Lasgush Poradeci
(the pen-name of Llazar Sotir Gusho)

translated by Blerta Alikaj, with refinements by Anthony Weir

Because I chose to love you
And I chose to woo you
And I chose to kiss you -
That's why.

And I chose to lose you
And I chose to search for you
And I finally found you -
That's why.

Because again I loved you
And again I wooed you
And again I kissed you -
That's why.

And I lost you as a girl
And I sought you as a girl
And I found no girl -
That's why.

Because I found you as a woman
And I loved you as a woman
And I kissed you as a woman -
That's why.

Now you talk to me no more
Now you flirt with me no more
And you think I'm just a bore -
That's why.

Ah! that is why I love you
Woman-girl, that's why
You are Mystery for me -
That's why.


Kliko këtu për versionin shqip.
Click here for Albanian version.



by Ylli Jasa
an Albanian living in Italy
and son-in-law of Nexhat Hakiu

translated by Zana Banci and Anthony Weir


I breathe in my life.
I hear with closed eyes the music of your voice
Vibration of breeze
Under the slender wings of a drowsy bird
Dreaming of flight.
And I am waiting
For that gust of light air
That only your arms
Only your arms can make ...
Only in flight...

Who is it ? who is it ?
It's me
Who are you ?
It's me...me
Immortal love from Cosmic Dust
Wave, Universe...infinite, infinitesimal
I am a note in the music of Spirit's
Vast, unwritten symphony
I come from chaos with goal and direction
Oh God, O Great God are you there ?
I am, and God as you are
But I can die
Without love


I hear a sweet and surly voice
Flame in spirit
Fire in blood
Sun in heart

Before my eyes
The love-wounded moon falls
And I live my frenzied dream

In my sleep I am looking for the Great Sleep's path
I am afraid of waking
I am afraid of dreaming
I am afraid of fear
I am afraid of love
I am afraid even if I am not afraid
I want only to go
To go, to fly
On deep blue dreaming
Let me dive into the ocean of spirit
Into mysterious waves of your dreams
Drown tenderly
In earth...sea...sky

In light and in darkness
in the midst of your depth
last bubbles of air
come out from my lips
at the bottom of your ocean

under water
immersed in dreams
magic words stammered
energy forever unremarked.

O sea-swell of woman
Pour your strength out to me
Into my mouth and into the cave of my spirit
I am waiting to drink of your energy
Explore your vastness.


Is such a meagre word
That says nothing of spirit to spirit
Within spirit and flesh

And after...
O what does 'after' mean ?

A thousand years, a day, a moment

In which the moon is another home
And the stars are small, brilliant poems.

A door will open
Then quick and light steps
From memory towards
The nebula of unmemory...


Kliko këtu për versionin shqip.
Click here for Albanian version.


by Nexhat Hakiu

translated by Anthony Weir

...and the next lot is a heart: who wants a heart ?
You girls there - do you want this heart ?
A joker pulled it
from the poet's breast! How
did he manage to hold it
above the waves in his
rudderless boat, with its ripped sail,
and damaged prow ?

The auctioneer is calling,
the heart still in his hand:
You girls there, offer me something for this heart!
This rare heart - only one like it
in all this land -
indeed in the whole world...
This priceless poet's heart, saved
from the storm, from the broken-apart
wreck on the rocks,
this heart itself like a wave ?

The auctioneer keeps going,
for a girl has caught his eye:
That girl over there -
are you bidding ?
A poet's heart
that surges like the sea -
Girl, have pity,
take this heart, this life,
this poetic longing !

Still the auctioneer is shouting,
Is nobody going to make an offer for this heart ?
It's a poet's heart
that surged like the sea
like the wave that rushes with wave
and it beats like the waves,
when they pound on the shore.
It leaves shells and foam behind.
Take the heart, take the life,
it's the poet's desire!

But the auctioneer is getting nowhere -
Who wants a heart ?

Girls laugh and
put their fingers to their lips
while the heart, unstillable,
silently containing the treasures of the sea,
beats and throbs,

Beats and sobs.
Now the auctioneer is hoarse.
And then a woman calls:
Auctioneer! that poetic organ
is unsaleable. You'll have to
give it away - to me, of course,
for it's the heart of my son,
my blood and no bargain.


Kliko këtu për versionin shqip.
Click here for Albanian version.


The rooves of Gjirokastra, birthplace of Kadare - and Hoxha.


by Ismail Kadare
world-famous novelist and poet from the Hoxha period,
winner of the first (2005) Man-Booker International Literature Prize
still living in France

translated by Anthony Weir

It's a long time since we saw each other and I feel
I am forgetting you. The memory of you
Dies in me day by day,
The memory of your hair
And everything about you.
Now I'm looking everywhere
For a place to drop you
A line, a verse, or crystal kiss -
And so depart.

If no grave will receive you,
No marble nor crystal sepulchre -
Will I have to keep you always with me
Half-dead and half-alive ?

If I can't find a chasm to drop you into
I'll look for a lawn or field
Where I will scatter you softly
Like pollen.

Perhaps I'll trick you into an embrace -
And go away irrevocably
And neither of us will know the other.
This is forgetting isn't it?



by Virgjil Muçi

A well-known author, critic and translator,
winner of the 2018 Kadare prize for Albanian literature.

translated by Anthony Weir

was my last love.
We made love.
A soul got pregnant.
and Loneliness was born.

ishte i dashuri i fundit.
Bëmë dashuri.
Shpirti u mbars,
e polli Vetminë.

The phallus-mast
of the ship without a flag -
the crazy winds of fantasy
tear it away in a sea of lust.

i anijes pa flamur.
Erërat e marra të fantazisë
e degdisin detrave të epsheve.


by Andon Zako "Çajupi" (1866-1930)

- a lawyer who was a popular nationalist poet and playwright.
He travelled widely, living in Switzerland when he was young,
and later in Egypt, where he died.

This satirical poem is not typical, but is very well-known amongst Albanians.
The great French poets Villon and Verlaine would have been happy to have composed it.

translated by Anthony Weir and Blerta Alikaj

Oh sweet wife, your comfort's dead -
can't even raise his wrinkled head,
who was rampant night and day:
a stallion eager for the fray.

Alas! alack! O woe is me!
My mount is useless, as you see.
He who stood proud and erect
now can't command the least respect.

A feral beast only last year,
village women made him rear
up when they showed a comely thigh
- and on he charged to do, not die.

He pranced through Europe east to west,
and always gave his perky best
to Irish red-heads, dusky Roms,
wispy maidens, buxom moms.

He'd make a seamstress lose her needle,
doll-like duchesses he'd wheedle,
tempt a cowgirl off the farm.
Feisty fishwives he could charm!

There was not a breed he missed
from trousered Tosk to dirndled Swiss
on pristine Alpine peaks -
even pious, racist Greeks -

until they yielded up their crannies,
(he cheered up many lonely grannies).
In France he had amazing luck:
queues would form to have a suck -

and when he went to Istanbul
great grown men desired that tool!
(They didn't get it, but perhaps
I should have gratified those chaps...)

Oh, my poor neglected wife
your husband's manhood has no life,
can't give you pleasure any more
as once it did till it was sore.

A prominent, popular swell,
what he did he did right well.
Now old age has come to this:
he peeps out only for a piss.



Kliko këtu për versionin shqip.
Click here for Albanian version.


A homage to Nexhat Nakiu, based on one of his poems

Humanity is a naturally-unnaturally-continuing
natural disaster.
It pokes the earth contemptuously with drills
and gouges out the earth with bulldozers
and blows the earth apart with dynamite
and atom-bombs
to change it utterly.

It has made war against mountains
and put them in towns
and made war against forests
and sown fields with bombs
and abolished the "useless"
and wiped out the insects
and starved all the birds
and filled the world with hospitals
and ever more prisons.

And everything is turning black with oil
and black or bleached by the uses of oil
for childish desire.

And the earth will be consumèd by that fire.


(Nexhat Hakiu was viciously persecuted by the Communist government which imprisoned him as a perpetrator of a bogus "terrorist" plot to plant a bomb in the Russian Embassy in Tirana. He also was accused of "Inciting the Young to Dissidence".)



>>> Mitrush Kuteli and Albanian Dirt: problems of translation >>>



Ever since Roman times (at least) Albania has exported its inhabitants. The ports of Bari and Brindisi are nearer to modern Albania and Greece than to Rome, and the Appian way - Rome's principal Euro-route - went to both. Greeks colonised Sicily and Puglia (Apulia), and only a proportion of them would have come from Athens, Corinth or Sparta. Most colonisers would have moved from the barren islands and the coast of Epirus to the richer lands just across the Adriatic.

But the first recorded exodus occurred when the Turks in the 16th century arrived in a sweep up the Balkans which took them to the very gates of Vienna. Thousands of Albanians fled to Southern Italy, where their descendants are still known as Arbëresh and still speak an Italian peppered with Albanian and Greek words. Albanian was one of the languages which the Romans failed to extinguish - unlike Etruscan, and many other tongues, such as Ligurian, between the Alps and Sicily.

Albanian Ottoman Architecture
click on this image to go to
an Albanian Ottoman Architecture

Albania was favourably treated under the Ottoman Empire, and supplied engineers, bridge-builders and administrators to the Sublime Porte, thus making emigration through the centuries of Turkish rule largely eastward. When a mauled Albania, truncated by Greece and Serbia in 1912-13, and occupied by them during the First World War miraculously became a nation-state recognised by the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the gaze shifted westward again. Before the USA closed its doors on unlimited immigration, many thousands of Albanians had gone there to be boot-blacks or waiters. But the cold Northern work-ethic did not appeal, and many returned to Albania after it was recognised as one of the new nations of Europe.

The idea of the Nation State was, however, completely foreign to most of the inhabitants of the new Republic (see below), and the first government - of enlightened Bishop Fan Noli - did not last long. The country could be held together only by autocracy - the rule of Ahmed Zogu who staged a coup d'état with Serbian help (and, apparently a regiment of Russians. He, admiring Mussolini's destruction of the Mafia and wishing to destroy the power of the land-owning bejs, decided to become a dictator himself. Very many Albanians moved to Italy at this time. Unfortunately, however, Mussolini had his eye on Albania as an ideal Italian 'Protectorate', and the little country was quickly swallowed up by the Second World War, invaded by Italy, Greece and Germany in turn.

Once Enver Hoxha came to power in 1945, emigration came to a halt. He knew of the talent-drain away from the little country, and so he sealed its borders. They remained sealed until 1990. Since then, waves of Albanians have fled West - to Italy, to France, to Australia and the USA. Since 1990 especially, the USA has been a kind of vast vacuum-cleaner sucking up all the talent of the world and wasting it by turning it into cheap labour. A quarter of the 1990 population now live outside Albania and show no signs of ever returning to help the fledgling democracy stand on its feet. (The same is true for truncated Armenia, squashed between Turkey and Azerbaijan.)

There is an old saying that the only religion of Albanians is Albania. How wrong that was! Nowadays the only religion of the whole world is that of the American church of Mammon: the religion of greed - and Albania may remain the Ruritanian basket-case of Europe.




Nexhat Hakiu

Ti nga gazi, nga mërzia
Pyet ç'është dashuria
Por ajo nuk fytyrë,
Nuk ka tingull, nuk ka ngjyrë!

Ajo s'sndihet as me fjalë,
Vjen e fshehur dhe ngadalë,
Vjen një herë'e prap s'enjeh
Brenda zemrës ti se sheh!

Po t' ish lule, fshehur barit,
Do këputesh, do të thahesh,
Po t'ish përl, fij e arit
Do rrëmbehesh, do të ndahesh;

Po t'ish zog, do të vajtonte
Brenda zemrës në kuvli,
Ta liroje, do këndonte
Larg nga ty, nga çdo njeri!

S'është lule për në fushë,
S' është përl për në gushë,
S'është as zog për në kuvli:
Ajo zemrën ka shtëpi....

Ja se ç'është dashuria!
Ësht' a s'është nuk e di,
Por un' di se lumturia:
Nuk është vetëm dashuri!


Lasgush Poradeci

Se të desha vetë,
Dhe t'u nqasa vetë,
Dhe të putha vetë-

Dhe të humba largë,
Dhe të ndoqa largë,
Dhe të gjeta largë-

Se të desha prapë,
Dhe t'u nqasa prapë,
Dhe të putha prapë-

Dhe të humba vashë,
Dhe të ndoqa vashë,
Dhe s'të gjeta vashë-

Se të gjeta grua,
Dhe të desha grua,
Dhe të putha grua-

Dhe s'më flet përhera,
Dhe s'më nqas përhera,
Dhe më plas përhera-

O, prandaj të dua,
Prandaj vashë-e grua,
Fshehtësi për mua-


Ylli Jasa


Marr frymë
Shoh me sy mbyllur muzikën e zërit tënd
Si vibrim ajri ....
Nën krahët e lehtë të një zogu
Të përgjumur ndaj dëshirës.... për fluturim
Dhe jam në pritje
Të asaj goditje të lehtë ajri
Që vetëm krahët e tu
Vetëm krahët e tu mund ta bëjnë....
Vetëm në fluturim....
Kush është ...kush është
Jam unë
Kush je ti
Jam une...jam unë
Dashuri e amëshuar nga pluhuri kozmik
Valë universi... infinit
Jam muzika e embël e Shpirit të Madh
Simfoni shpirtërore pa nota dhe pentagrame
Pa rregulla dëgjimi
Vij nga Kaosi me një drejtim
O Zot, i madhi Zot, ti je.....?
Jam dhe Zot....sic je ti
Por mund të vdes.....pa Dashuri....


Dëgjoj një zë te embël dhe të vrazhdë,
Flakë në shpirtë
Zjarr në gjak
Diellin në zemer
Hëna rreshket si femër e plagosur
Nga dashuria e tepërt
Jetoj në kllapi ëndërrën
Në gjumë kerkoj gjurmët e 'Gjumit të Madh'
Kam frikë nga zgjimi
Kam frikë nga ëndërra
Kam frikë nga frika
Kam frikë nga dashuria
Kam frikë dhe mos të kem frikë
Dua vetëm të ikë
Të iki të iki në fluturim.. flu..
Të ëndërrave të mia blu
Dua të zhytem në oqeanin tënd shpirtëror
dhe të zhytem nën dallgët e mistershme
të ëndërrave të tua
Të mbytem ëmbëlsisht
Duke shkuar drejtë fundit
Në mes tokës...detit...qiellit ...
Në mes dritës dhe errësirës
Nën trysninë e thellësisë tënde
Dhe të fundit flluska të ajrit
Që dalin nga buzët e mija
Në fun të Oqeanit tënd Shpirtërore
Në bëlbëzitjen pa zë
Nën ujë
Nën ëndërra
Të fjalëve magjike ...
Pa dëgjim.....pa dëgjim.....në amëshim.........

Hej moshë e re vashë e hedhur
Derdhma forcën tënde
Në hapësirën pa fund të shpirit tim me qojë hapur
Po pres të pijë nga energjija jote
Të të shpërtheje energjinë time.


Fjalë e varfër
Që vetëm ti jep
Nga shpirti në shpirt
Dhe përsëri në shpirt
Dhe pas ikjes
Dhe pas...
Pas.... pas....pas...

O zot e di cdo të thotë pas...
Një mijë vjet në sytë e tu janë një ditë
Një ditë është një cast
Një cast është një njemijë vjetë
Ku hëna është një tjetër shtëpi

Dhe yjet ndricojnë leximin e poezisë.



Nexhat Hakiu

Merrni zemër kush do zemër!
Ej, ju vasha, doni zemër
E kish marrë lozonjarja
Nga kraharor' i një poeti!
E si mund ta mbante zemrën
Me tallazet e një deti
Lundr' e thyer, pëlhure-çjere,
Pa timon e kiç të shtrembër?

Po bërtet përsëri kasneci
Se në dorë zemra- i ngeci:
Ej ju vasha, doni zemër?
Kjo nuk shitet, as nuk blihet,
Kini zemër, o ju vasha,
Se me zemër kjo shkëmbehet!

Është zemra në furtune,
Është zemra -e një poeti
Që përplaset në shkëmbinjtë
Posi vala e një deti!...

Ja kasneci çirret prapë,
Se një vashë pas tij u kap:
Merre zemrën, merre zemrën
A dëgjove ti moj vashë?
Jepet zemra- e një poeti
Që gufohet posi deti!
A dëgjove ti moj vashë,
Se të dhimbsur ty të pashë,
Merre zemrën merre jetën,
Është mall'i një poeti!...

Prap' kasneci po bërtet,
Se asnjë nuk qaset vetë:
Është zemra e një poeti
Që gufoi posi deti,
Posi vala që le valen
Dhe lëkundet me tallas,
Kur mbi ranë vjen e ikën,
Le guaska, shkumë pas,
Merre zemrën, merre jetën,
Esht' dëshir' e një poeti!

Po kasneci ra në hall,
Kush për zemrën pyet vallë?
Qeshnin lozonjarët, qeshnin
Vinin dorën përmbi buzë,
Porse zemra s'mund të lidhet
As me fjal' as me tërkuze,
Ajo hidhet e përdridhet,
Kërkon zemër, ngashëren
Dhe thesarët porsi deti
mban brënda s'i rrëfen!

Ja kasneci mbet' i ngjirrur
Po nje nën' i pati thirrur:
- Ej, kasnec, zemër' e poetit
S'jepet kurrë me pahir,
Falma mua se më ngjan
Porsi zemra e tim bir!



Andon Zako "Çajupi"

Grua sec mu prish kandari
Nuk eshte me ai i pari
Qe s'pertonte ditë e natë
Ndizej si barut i thatë

Lere grua se c'me gjeti
Nuk me bindet me aleti
Ky bandill qe cante retë
Me s'i ngre kryet perpjetë.

Vjet si kale turfullontë
Grate e fshatit kur shikontë
Sa i shihte bythezbuluar
Sulej si qen i terbuar.

I pushtonte vetë te tera
Zgavra, shpella, guva, verra
Fryhej si nje patellxhan
Kur shkonte nen fustan.

Sa i vinte mend zanatit
E uronin grate e fshatit
Po sot cka qe është merzitur
Trup e shpirt i raskapitur ?

Shikon cupat siseplota
Me shale te buta e te ngrohta
Nuset e bardha si debora
Qe s'i shpetonin nga dora

Grate e reja sisemedhate
Qe i nderronte pernate...
Dhe s`leviz te behet burrë
Me mbeti vetem per shurrë.

Ah moj grua moj e ngratë
Te mbeti burri kaq thatë
Megjithese me s`te ngop dot
Por dikur s`kam qene si sot.

Isha trim dhe djale i hedhur
Pak usta per te zgjedhur
Buzeqeshja me te tera
Mjaftonte qe t'u hante verra.

Por me shume doja grate
Vithe gjera sise medhate
Por dhe cupat shume i desha
Nuk i lija virgjeresha.

Mazallah mbetcin me barre
I therrja u beja varre!
Nuset e reja me naze
I haja si qofte taze.

I ndukja me buze e dhëmbë
Sa ngrihej fshati ne këmbë
Isha bej me mall me toka
Po beja se c'me thosh koka.

Ne Zagori dore e pare
Me sejmere e hyzmeqare
Kisha kuaj lope e dhen
Edhe gra me shume se qen.

Vete i ujdisja te tera
C'me tha koka e s'e bera?
Ne Evrope s'lashe vend pa pare
Kuplarate i mora mbare.

Shijova bionde gjermanë
Meskeputurat persianë
Rreth e qark iu solla botës
Por ne France lashe mend e kokës.

Kush te doje le ta provojë
Te ma marre mikun ne gojë
Ne Stamboll mos shkofsha kurrë
Bashkohet burri me burrë.

Thone se është ves i shemtuar
Mos vdeksha pa e provuar
Por tani kjo pune epati
U plaka, me ra takati.


Read about a film on the "sworn virgins" of Northern Albania

Albanian Poems of Dissidence



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