Child of Nature by Luljeta Lleshanaku
(New Directions Paperbook)

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Synopsis

A fresh voice from the Balkans by an award winning poet from Albania, Lleshanaku’s Child of Nature explores her country’s past in intense and powerful lyrics.

In my house praying was considered a weakness,
like making love.
And like making love
it was followed by a long night
of fear,
so alone with the body.
         —Luljeta Lleshanaku

Lleshanaku belongs to the first “post-totalitarian” generation of Albanian poets. Child of Nature is her second poetry collection in English. Here she turns to the fallout of her country’s past and its relation to herself and her family. Through intense, powerful lyrics, she explores how these histories intertwine and influence her childhood memories and the retelling of her family’s stories. Sorrow, death, imprisonment, and desire are some of the themes that echo deeply in Lleshanaku’s beautiful poems, poems that Peter Constantine has called “contemporary classics of world literature.” Of her work, Albanian novelist Ridvan Dibra writes, “When you close her book, the images don’t leave you. They cleave you open like a leopard’s paw, and enter into you. Once inside they create their own life, a second life, vastly different from the original. What more can we expect from real poetry, from true art?”
 

About Luljeta Lleshanaku

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Luljeta Lleshanaku was born in Elbasan, Albania in 1968. Under Enver Hoxha's Stalinist dictatorship, she grew up under house arrest. Lleshanaku was not permitted to attend college or publish her poetry until the weakening and eventual collapse of the regime in the early 1990s. She studied Albanian philology at the University of Tirana, and has worked as a schoolteacher, literary magazine editor, and journalist.
 
Published February 25, 2010 by New Directions. 108 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Child of Nature

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within her childhood memories, “Broken toys were my playthings.” In one of many poems about Albanian families trapped in collapsing small towns, a mountain in the distance offers eternal, impossible promises of better lives, while the citizens work themselves to death: “The electrocardiogram of s...

Feb 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Child of Nature (New Directio...

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