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Meet a Bulgarian Poet: Petja Heinrich

November 24, 2014 by · No comments


Katerina Stoykova-Klemer interviewed poet Petja Heinrich for The Season of Delicate Hunger: Anthology of Contemporary Bulgarian Poetry. Here is her translation of that conversation.

What would you like for the American readers to know about Bulgarian poetry?

Manyfaced, fragile, resilient. Nurtured with sea, bread and sun. Often thoughtful and nostalgic. Friendly, human, sometimes particularly brightly experimental, nicely untidy. Is it truly like this? I’m not sure.

What would you like for the American readers to know about you personally?

Poet. That’s enough. Here is more: I live in Germany, but I was born in Bulgaria. I’m often told that my poems are influenced by another culture, that they’re not entirely Bulgarian. But I write in Bulgarian, because this is the language that gives me great power. For me it is distinct from day-to-day use and has turned into a language only for poetry.


Then man didn’t age, but rather moved from one state of being to
another. From childhood to youth, from youth to elderhood, from
elderhood to death, from death to seed… . Then time was invented.
Master Fritz examines a gear under the magnifying glass. And as he
studies it, he scatters into pearls. A pigeon flutters in the clock tower.

-Petja Heinrich,
The Season of Delicate Hunger (2013)

Is there an American poet who has influenced you or has made a an impression on you? How do you interact with American poetry?

It’s likely that I’m influenced by everything I’ve read that made an impression on me. Here are a few names of American poets, the encounters of whose poetry remain unforgettable: William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Charles Reznikoff, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbury, Robert Pinsky, Jonas Mekas. The last one is better known in America for his alternative film art, but he’s a significant poet in his native Lithuania.

What do you wish for the anthology and its readers?

Poetry connects. This anthology is a path. I wish for its readers to walk this path with pleasure and to discover valuable things.

More in the “Meet a Bulgarian Poet” series:

Kristin Dimitrova

Petja Heinrich was born on October 4th, 1973 in Sofia. She holds a degree in journalism from St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia. She translates poetry from German into Bulgarian and has contributed to various German and Bulgarian publications. Petja is the founder of poetry print journal But Poetry, and she frequently blogs at She is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Fly Up and Catch Us (2012). She lives in Düsseldorf, Germany. She is a biker who talks with birds.

Originally published here.

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