Marin Bodakov


Ten Poems


I no longer regret
The poems, unwritten
While writing for somebody else.
A couple of words, promptly unspoken,
Kiss on the skin covered by the curls of grief.




If you raise your head
To the second and third floor, you’ll see
How the bulbs of old age come to bloom
Between the window bars.




As the waters shall rise
All the animals shall descend from the two of us
And the stars shall bend down to their bosom to suckle
And we’ll hide from them under the crimson pines
And one under another.




I Sink 

Into the postal slot of fog
Like a parcel to darkness
With the wrong address




Earthly, the Fear

Is painted so well on the inside
With such mastery of perspective
That the walls seem to vanish
And its home to be infinite.





I took scissors, and stopped
The grave from outgrowing its limits.
All the sociable greenery
That swelled from the inside
And extended a bough over neighboring graves—
Duly trimmed.
Then into my open arms—and the trash bin.




As Seen from the Airplane,

The sky looks like the folds of our brains:
The gray of the blue and the gray of the green
And the graves of grief growing quickly apart—
To make room for me.




Autumn Came,

There’s no telling the trees from the anchors,
Nurslings interrupt the abstract sermon
And the stretches are washed by the hour
Ambulances go crashing without visible reason
Houses look even emptier with us.
I grind Yes and No between thumb and forefinger—and mix them,
But it’s not yet a remedy.




Only Silence Will Never Betray You—

As the wearied master does not leave his aged servant
Only silence will teach you to sleep behind unlocked doors
And anticipate nothing.




There Are Some Goodbyes

Like a stain on the tablecloth.
You pull the plate to hide it
Before the other person noticed
And think of nothing else.



—Translated by Zornitsa Hristova



Marin Bodakov was born in 1971. He has written seven books of poetry, including Biscuits, Naive Art, Angel in the Zoo, Northern Notebook and The Battle for You. His book Naive Art won the Ivan Nikolov Poetry Award in 2011.

His poetry has been translated into several languages. He is the literary editor at Kultura, the most prestigious cultural periodical in Bulgaria, and as a professor of journalism at the University of Sofia. His main area of research is the history of literary criticism in Bulgaria. 

Apart from his poetry books, Marin Bodakov has published a compilation of critical texts on Ivan Vazov by Bulgarian critics, and a volume of his interviews with leading Bulgarian translators. He won the Knight of the Book Award by the Bulgarian Book Association in 2014. His is the co-founder of Tochitza Publishers.


Zornitsa Hristova has translated authors like Julian Barnes, Don DeLillo, Robert Frost, Jhumpa Lahiri, Evelyn Waugh, Martin Amis, and Tom Wolfe. Her translation of Georgi Gospodinov’s Natural Novel was published by Dalkey Archive Press and was nominated for the Hristo G. Danov national award. In 2010 she received the Union of Bulgarian Translators’ Award for her work on White Noise by Don DeLillo.