A Voice Locked in Stone


107 pages
ISBN 0-920428-56-8





Translated by Barry Callaghan
Reviewed by Bob Lincoln

Bob Lincoln is Director of Acquisitions at the University of Manitoba


An old meaning of the verb to translate carries the idea of the translator as smuggler, a person who can take things across linguistic and cultural frontiers. Barry Callaghan, one of Canada’s finest writers of short fiction (CBRA 1983) has brought out an unusual dual text edition of Slovene poetry by one of Yugoslavia’s major writers. In doing this, he has crossed cultural and geographic frontiers.

A Voice Locked in Stone, Pavlovic’s intensely imagistic and passionate collection, is from a larger work titled The Milk of Origins. These are poems about a unique heritage and history. These are not, however, strictly historical recollections; they are mystical expressions that almost avoid exact chronologies. Pavlovic seems to draw inspiration from philosophic and historical undercurrents. There are poems on Greek and Turkish invaders, on Delphic landscapes, on beekeepers, thieves, and pilgrims. Several poems explore the dualistic nature of religion as explained by the Brotherhood of Bogomils. Dualities, opposing forces and images recur throughout the collection, just as Eastern Yugoslavia looked culturally and linguistically first towards Byzantium, then towards Rome.

The range of these poems is considerable; the book can be seen as the poet’s attempt to create order out of chaos, out of the raw substance of life. This is a notable work.


Pavlovic, Miodrag, “A Voice Locked in Stone,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35091.