Ales Debeljak RIP

I can’t believe, it’s absurd, it’s revolting! Ales Debeljak is a dear friend, I refuse to use the past tense. A great poet, a noble spirit, a genuine Central European intellectual. I just learned about this news from Ajla Terzić. Like her, I feel devastated.


I first met Ales in Warsaw in 2004, at a conference on the idea of Europe organized by Rob Riemen’s Nexus Institute, then we saw each other frequently, he sent me his books, I sent mine. A few months ago he lectured at Yale, invited by Marci Shore. Ales has written illuminating essays on modernism and post-modernism, nationalism, and the Yugoslav bloody debacle. The Romanian publishing house Polirom published an original collection of his essays with the movingly telltale title “In cautarea nefericirii” (The Quest for Unhappiness). I was honored to write an endorsement for the jacket of his book “The Hidden Handshake”…


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