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Dreaming Escape
Dreaming Escape

Valentina Saraçini

translated by Erica Weitzman, Flora Ismaili, Rudina Jasini

Poetry | $15 $12
Buy"The pulsing emotional landscape of resistance, negation, revision."

Saraçini joins together the grimly political and the intensely personal, moving through a psychological universe full of impossible geographies, fallible gods, absence and fog and longed for escapes. What emerges from these lines is a space somewhere beyond grief, where one is still vulnerable to the shocks of both individual and collective calamity. The poems in this collection both question and dream, imagine and mourn, displace fear with loneliness, loneliness with occasional calm. Eastern European Poets Series #19.

Excerpt ˇ


The Questioned

Was it winter or summer

Was there fog or rain


Had we left or returned

Were we sweating or frozen


Were we clearing the streets of leaves

Or gathering fruit from the sea


Were we flying through the sky

Or were we broken into stones


Did we dream of being born

Or of dying in our sleep


Did we know how to love in the moment

Close ˆ

About the Author

Valentina Saraçini
Valentina Saraçini, born in Skopje, Macedonia, currently lives in Prishtina, Kosovo, where she is known both for her poetry and her work as a journalist and in terviewer. In Dreaming Escape, her second book of poetry, Saraçini joins together the grimly political to the intensely personal, moving through a psychological universe based on a richly evocative system of motifs, embodied abstractions, and symbols. What emerges from these lines is the voice of a worn-out Cassandra in an age beyond either grief or mourning, yet still vulnerable to the shocks of both individual and collective calamity: a voice that will long serve as witness in the development of Kosovar Albanian literature. Poems in this collection have previously appeared in 91st Meridian, Two Lines: World Writing in Translation, and Portals: a Journal of Comparative Literature.

About the Translator

Erica Weitzman is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at New York University. Her critical work has appeared in Law and Literature, MLN, and the German Quarterly, and her poetry has appeared in 6x6 and other journals. Other translations from the Albanian have appeared in Words Without Borders and The Iowa Review, and from 2004 to 2005 she wrote a monthly interview column for the Albanian literary review Ars. She also holds a masters degree in Creative Writing from Boston University and a masters in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research. She learned Albanian while working in Gjakova, Kosovo for the NGO Balkan Sunflowers from February 2000 to June 2001.
Flora Ismaili received an MPH in health system management from Tulane University. She currently works as a Monitoring & Evaluation consultant for the United Nations Population Fund Office in Albania.
Rudina Jasini is a lawyer from Albania. She received her LL.M in International Legal Studies from Georgetown Law School, and currently works at the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the Hague as a Staff Attorney for the Defense in cases relating to the war in Kosovo.

Advance Praise

In Erica Weitzman’s resolute translation, Valentina Saraçini’s staccato-grammared voice sketches a double space—the pulsing emotional landscape of resistance, negation, revision, set in a particular place of trees, stones, gods, color, history. A subtle navigational chart to an inner coast of Albania we have not known of until now.—NATASA DUROVICOVA
This collection of Albanian poetry from Kosovo does a wonderful job of bringing a fascinating and important but little-known European literature to a broader audience. The translations are fluid and faithful, rendering beautifully in English both the sense and the sentiment of the original Albanian, which itself is deeply affecting.—VICTOR A. FRIEDMAN