Dane Zajc worked as a librarian and editor for several literary magazines. He made his debut in 1958 with a collection of neo-expressionist poetry. He went on to publish nine more volumes of poetry, but also made his name as a writer of lyrical drama.
Dane Zajc was President of the Slovene Writers’ Association from 1991 until 1995. He received several literary awards, including the prestigious Preseren Prize.
In his poetry Zajc communicates his experience of the world as an absurd and threatening place. His landscapes are empty, silent, blank, destroyed by man and inhabited by animals only. He shows us man’s existential situation, using symbols and archaic, biblical, often grotesque images. Zajc’s poetry is lyrical; his language concise and powerful. Silences seem as important and significant as words. A frequent theme in Zajc’s poems is the ineffectiveness of language and communication. The poet’s relation to his words is that of God to his creatures: they are ‘earth’, real and concrete, as well as unruly and rebellious. Zajc’s wording is clear; yet his words often seem to have detached themselves from their original meanings. The essence of things remains a mystery, although the poet tries to approach it in words as well as he can. Zajc’s later poems show a stronger tendency towards the dramatic, with less surreal, fantastic elements. His language has become more sober and austere, lending his poetry a prayer-like, incantatory quality.
[Dane Zajc took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2001. This text was written on that occasion.]
Dane Zajc’s page on Lyrikline