pioneered a Slovenian literary entry into the American “republic of letters”. He edited the first couple of anthologies of Slovenian literature in English translation, presenting a rich tradition of Slovenian letters independently of Yugoslav straight-jacket. Published as late as early 1990s, these anthologies bear witness to both, a struggle for the Slovenian national identity and its American and international recognition. Debeljak also helped shepherd books by other Slovenian literati to press, such as fiction writers Drago Jančar and Andrej Blatnik for Northwestern University Press. Debeljak is a leading intellectual and poetic voice of a generation that came of age in the 1980s. His itinerant travels across the US and a subsequent graduate education at Syracuse University, New York made it possible for him to facilitate mutual understanding between Slovenian and American literary life.
Aleš Debeljak, (b. 1961 in Ljubljana) is a poet, essayist and translator. He graduated in comparative literature from the University of Ljubljana and received his Ph.D. in Social Thought from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, New York. He was a Senior Fulbright fellow at the University of California-Berkeley and a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study-Collegium Budapest. Debeljak, one of the leading Central European poets, published eight books of essays and five books of poems in his native Slovenian, including much-lauded collection Minute strahu which later appeared in English translation as Anxious Moments (White Pine Press,1994). His book of personal and analytical meditation, Twilight of the Idols: Recollections of a Lost Yugoslavia appeared in translation in more than twelve languages. His recent publications in the United States include a scholarly book Reluctant Modernity: The Institution of Art and its Historical Forms (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998) and a comprehensive anthology The Imagination of Terra Incognita: Slovenian Writing 1945-1995 (White Pine Press, 1997) which he edited. A translator of a book of selected poems by John Ashbery and of a classical book on sociology of knowledge, he also edited an anthology of American metafictional writing and published a book of essays on American literature. He won the Prešeren Foundation Prize (Slovenian National Book Award) and Miriam Lindberg Israel Poetry for Peace Prize-Tel Aviv. His books have appeared in Japanese, German, Croatian, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and Italian translation. Debeljak has edited Serbian, Croatian, and Slovenian sections for Shifting Borders: East European Poetries in the Eighties (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1993) and edited Prisoners of Freedom: Contemporary Slovenian Poetry (Pedernal Press, 1993). A contributing editor of Trafika: An International Literary Review (Prague) and Davies Publishing Group (Colorado), Debeljak is also a general editor of “Terra Incognita: Writings from Central Europe”, a book series published by White Pine Press. Debeljak is a chair of Department of Cultural Studies and a research head of a Center for Cultural and Religious Studies at the University of Ljubljana. He and his American wife, Erica Johnson, live in Ljubljana and have three small children.