Albania is greater than its soil,
Than the sky stretching upwards above it.
It is the ancient dream of a ship,
A yacht kissing the depths.
It flaps and flutters in two halves,
Wings beating to sear bloody wounds.
It is not part of this planet, but a star,
A tear fallen from the eye of the Lord.
[Shqipëria, from the volume Rrethinat e Atlantidës, Tirana 2002, p. 49. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie.]
Agron Tufa (b. 1967), was born in Suhadoll in the Dibra region of eastern Albania and studied literature at the University of Tirana. He continued his studies in Moscow in the 1990s where he graduated in translation theory, with particular concentration on the work of Joseph Brodsky. Since his return to Albania, he has been involved in the literary magazine E për-7-shme (Suitable) and edited the much-admired periodical Aleph. He is now editor of the literary supplement FjalA (The Word) and teaches literature at the University of Tirana.
Tufa has published poetry and prose of note. He is the author of the verse collections Aty te portat Skée, Elbasan 1996 (There at the Scaean Gates); and Rrethinat e Atlantidës, Tirana 2002 (The Surrounding of Atlantis); and the novels Dueli, Tirana 2002 (The Duel); and Fabula rasa, Tirana 2004 (Fabula Rasa). He has also translated many Russian authors, among whom Joseph Brodsky, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelshtam, Boris Pasternak, Andrei Platonov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vladimir Nabokov, and Vladimir Sorokin.