The Poet in the First Person Singular
On 17 January 1990, the literary magazine Ah Maria premiered in Sofia’s club-restaurant of the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers. The magazine quickly acquired legendary status. Notable among the authors in that first volume were the names of cartoonist and animation artist Andrey Kulev, the writers, philosophers and social critics Alexander Dzhoganov, Ventseslav Arnaoudov, Dimitrios Marousopolous, Ivan Krastev, Katya Leshtanska, Panos Statoyannis, Tsvetanka Elenkova, Yassen Atanasov. Its editorial board featured such luminaries as Alexander Gerov and Yannis Ritsos. I was there too. This is me as a writer and translator:
1991 – I translated Tales of Ordinary Madness by Charles Bukowski together with Panos Statoyannis. I also translated and edited Surrealism, vol 2 of Ah Maria.
1992 – I became editor in chief for Death, vol 3-4. I also did translation work.
1993 – Orthodoxy, vol 5. Also, in Literary Salon, the Night of a Poem. I was published as a poet.
1994 – Summer in Sozopol on the Black Sea Coast. Paradox: a very long summer. Team with rum. Books. Gin. Long nights. Camel cigarettes.The Foundation for Bulgarian Literature.
1995 – The house of poets. Ah Maria is back. La Strada. Summer in Sozopol. Presenting Ah Maria at the Apolonia festival. The authors.
1996 Ah Maria presents the Balkan literatures of the twentieth century in two consecutive issues over 637 pages. My firstbon, Gala, came along. I chose her name from a long list drafted by her mother. I’d just bought The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. Autobiography. Then I chose the name. I wrote a poem for Petrikov too. I still have it.
1997- I wrote my first book in Bozhetsi.
1998 My second daughter was born in the early hours of August 1. The moon was full, the first for that month. I saw her the day after she was born. That was it: Ivasha. I visited Greece for the first time on a Schengen visa. Ergastirio valkanion singrafeon ke metafrasteon. Got an autograph from Ismail Kadare. I have apicture of Kadare, myself and Panos. Alexandroupoli – Thessaloniki – Athens.
1999 - The Petrikov publishing house put out my first book, Gala. And more: Ah Anthology of an Unfinished decade. Bulgarian Writers from 1990 to the Present. That included 64 authors and was one of the last big issues of Ah Maria. Then everything turned movie-like.
As a scriptwriter:
2009 – The Line, an animated documentary feature directed by Andrei Kulev, produced by Attract Film
2010 – Vynil, a short feature directed by Vlado Borisov, South Western University
2012 – Images and Days, a short feature directed by Iris Konstantinova, Attract Film
As a producer/executive producer:
2006-2008 – The River, animated feature in ten parts directed by Andrei Kulev, produced by Bulgarian national Television and Attract Film
2009 – The Line, animated feature directed by Andrei Kulev, Attract Film
2013 – Jungle under the Window, animated feature directed by Ivan Vesselinov, Attract Film
2013-2014 Book of Silence, documentary feature directed by Andrei Kulev, Attract Film
Lest I forget. In 2005 I was blessed with a third daughter, Maya-Andrea. I am less lonely as a result.
Roumen is executive producer of Sofia – The History of Europe