At the Door at Evening


116 pages
ISBN 0-919754-24-4
DDC 886.3'1





Translated by Tom Lozar

Alexandra Sosnowski is an associate professor of Slavic Studies at the
University of Manitoba.


Published nearly 10 years after Kocbek’s death, this book is the first
bilingual collection of poetry by this dissident Slovenian author. The
book opens with an informative and thought-provoking introduction by
Lozar, which comprises basic information on Slovenia and Kocbek and
describes the volume’s possible audiences. Lozar emphasizes that his
criteria for choosing the poems combined local elements with historical

The collection, organized chronologically, is divided into three parts;
“Before” (22 poems), “During” (5 poems), and “After” (20
poems), where “during” refers to World War II, a civil war in
Slovenia. Not by accident is this period represented by the least number
of poems: the translator’s goal is an “English volume of country
music.” The side-by-side placement of the originals and their English
translations is convenient, especially for readers who know both
Slovenian and English.

Kocbek (1904 to 1981) is a rather unknown poet and prose writer of
extraordinary originality and vision, who undoubtedly deserves a place
in the pantheon of modern East European literature. These poems present
both the witness of his country’s tragic history and the modernist
whose poetic merit brings him close to Zbigniew Herbert, Vladimir
Holand, or Vasko Popa.

This interesting volume will be valuable not only to students of Slavic
literature, but also to all those interested in contemporary poetry.
Although some points of the English versions may be disputed, the
translations are literate and they fully convey both the mood and
meaning of the originals.


Kocbek, Edvard., “At the Door at Evening,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024,