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Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Albanian Authors



Eqrem BASHA, 2001 (Photo: Robert Elsie).

Eqrem BASHA, 2001
(Photo: Robert Elsie).




Eqrem Basha (b. 1948) is among the most respected contemporary writers of Kosova in recent years. He was born in Dibra in the western Albanian-speaking region of what is now the Republic of Macedonia, but his life and literary production are intimately linked to Kosova and its capital Prishtina, where he has lived and worked for the past three decades. It was in the early 1970s, during the only real years of freedom in Kosova, that Eqrem Basha moved to Prishtina to study language and literature at the newly created Albanian-language university there. He later worked for Prishtina television as editor of the drama section, but was fired for political reasons during the Serb takeover of the media in 1989-1990. Basha is the author of eight volumes of innovative verse spanning the years from 1971 to 1995, three volumes of short stories and numerous translations (in particular French literature and drama). He is currently in the publishing industry in Prishtina. Eqrem Basha is an enigmatic poet. Perplexing, fascinating, and difficult to classify in a literary sense, he succeeds in transmitting a certain mystique to the inquisitive reader. At one moment he seems coolly logical and shows an admirable ability to reason deductively, and the next moment he is overcome by absurd flights of fancy into a surrealistic world where apparently nothing makes any sense. Basha has an urbane view of things and delights in the daily absurdities of life. Nothing could be more foreign to him than the inspiration many of his fellow poets derive from the rich folklore traditions of the northern mountain tribes and verse of social commitment. His verse is light, colloquial and much less declamatory than that of many of his predecessors.