Athanase de Thracy

The laureate of the great literary award “Naim Frashëri” of the 17th edition of the International Poetry Festival “Ditët e Naimit” is the eminent Bulgarian poet Athanase Vantchev de Thracy, who has been living in Paris for a long time. This is the decision of the jury of the Festival composed of the chairman Agron Tufa (Albania) and the jury members Salajdin Salihu (Macedonia) and Ndue Ukaj (Kosova). Former laureates of this festival are well-known names such as: Ismail Kadare (Albania), Desmond Egan (Ireland), Thomas Tidholm (Sweden), Manlio Argueta (El Salvador), Peter Poulsen (Denmark), Fatos Arapi (Albania), Ali Podrimja (Kosova), Abdelatif Laâbi (Morocco/France), Lionel Ray (France), (Ewa Lipska (Poland), Tua Forström (Finland) etc.

The 17th edition of the International Poetry Festival “Ditët e Naimit” will take place from October 17th to 20th in Tetova, Frashër and Tirana. Poets from 25 countries worldwide have confirmed their participation, from Mexico, the USA and Canada to India and Pakistan, as well as 20 Albanian poets from the whole Albanian-speaking Balkans.

This was made known by the director of the IPF “Ditët e Naimit”, Shaip Emërllahu, at the press conference on September 28th in the Cultural Centre in Tetova.

Subsequently, the chairman of the jury, Agron Tufa, read the motivation of the jury, according to which the “Naim Frashëri” award is given to the francophone poet Athanas Vantchev de Thracy for the following reasons:

“For the deep lyrical ebriety with dense verbal and non-verbal references and associations from the ancient and modern traditions of world culture;

for the purified sensitivity of the poetic sense in the filtering of authentic emotion of a lyrical hero of all times in his permanent and uninterrupted communication with nature and civilisation;

for Pindaric flights from lyrical ecstasy to forlorn and elegic meditations about everlasting metaphysical and transcendental issues.

Athanase de Thrasi’s poetry keeps, like rarely anybody in contemporary poetry, the hygiene of great poetry since its dawn – with prayers and hymns – up to modernist and postmodern proceedings of the fresh core of a vital, eternally verdant poetry.”

Like in the past, this year the Direction will publish the anthology with the poetry of the participating poets. According to the programme of this year, the poets will visit Naim Frashëri’s birthplace Frashër, whereas the closure of the Festival will take place in the Albanian capital of Tirana. The Festival is supported, among others, by the Ministry of Culture of Macedonia, the Municipality of Tetova, and the Bektashi community.

Athanase Vantchev de Thracy is considered one of the greatest francophone poets of our time. Born in 1940 in Haskovo, Bulgaria, he is a writer who disposes of a very large cultural knowledge, who talks several languages and who has been following post-graduated studies for more than 17 years at the most prestigious European universities, where he adquired a deep knowlede of world poetry.

De Thracy is the author of 46 volumes of poetry, both formal and in free verse, which cover almost the whole range of the poetic form. He has published a series of monographies and his dissertation “Symbolism of Light in Paul Verlaine’s Poetry”. He has also written a study in Bulgarian about the great Epicurean Petronius, the author of the Satyricon, and a Master’s thesis in Russian, “Poetics and Metaphysics in the Work of Dostoevsky”.

As an expert of antiquity, Athanase Vantchev de Thracy has dedicated many articles to Greek and Latin poetry. During his two-year stay in Tunisia, he has published three works about the Tunisian cities in Punic times.

During his prolonged visits to Syria, Turkey, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordania, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauretania and Tajikistan, he got acquainted with the wonders of the Islamic culture. He has also spent many years to study the religions of the East. From that time dates his excellent adaptation of Mustapha Tlass’s historical work “Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra”, into French.

De Thracy has spent a considerable part of his two-year stay in Russia (1993-4) with the study of Russian poetry. Being the translator of a galaxy of poets from many countries, Athanase Vantchev de Thracy was honoured with many national and international literary awards. He is a laureate of the French Academy and has received an honorary doctorate from the Veliko Tarnovo University in Bulgaria and the Brasilian Academy of Humanities. His poetry has been translated into many languages.

He is a member of the Brasilian Academy of Humanities, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Ukrainian Academy as well as the chairman of the international movement “Poetas del Mundo” (Poets of the world) with 8000 members all over the world.

A. Arsllani