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Robert Elsie

Albanian Literature | Classical

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Esad MEKULI

Esad MEKULI

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Esad MEKULI

 

The writer widely considered to be the father of modern Albanian poetry in Yugoslavia, Esad Mekuli (1916-1993), was not born in Kosova itself but in the mountain village of Plava on the Montenegrin-Albanian border where national traditions are still revered. Mekuli went to school in Peja on the Kosova side of the wild Rugova canyon and studied veterinary medicine at the University of Belgrade. There he came into contact with Marxist teachings and subsequently took part in the partisan movement of World War II. In 1949, he founded the literary periodical Jeta e re (New life), whose editor-in-chief he remained until 1971. Mekuli was a committed poet of social awareness whose outrage at injustice, violence, genocide and suffering mirrors that of the pre-revolutionary verse of the messianic Migjeni of Shkodra. His first collection, Për ty, Prishtina 1955 (For you), was dedicated to the people of Kosova. His final collection, Drita që nuk shuhet, Prishtina 1989 (The light that does not go out), appeared over thirty years later. Mekuli also published translations of much Yugoslav literature, including the works of the Montenegrin poet-prince Petar Njegosh (1813-1851), as well as Serbian translations of many volumes of Albanian literature.