Tomaž Šalamun

Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry


A placard. A thorn and a boat. 

White silk. 

Black silk. 

A rag.


A rag by a tree. 

By a broken jar.

Black and white silk 

on my cheek. 


I breathe into the bark. 

I’m waiting for the bus. 

The pavilion in the park here 

wasn’t torn down.




Tomaž Šalamun (1941-2014) published more than 55 books of poetry in his native Slovenian. Translated into over 25 languages, his poetry received numerous awards, including the Jenko Prize, the Prešeren Prize, the European Prize for Poetry, and the Mladost Prize. He served for several years as the Cultural Attaché for the Slovenian Embassy in New York, and he held visiting professorships at various universities in the U.S.




Brian Henry is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Permanent State. He has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices, Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers, and five books by Aleš Šteger. His work has received numerous honors, including two NEA fellowships, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Howard Foundation fellowship, and the Best Translated Book Award. He is editing and translating a volume of Selected Poems by Šalamun.