Aco Šopov’s creative path
Aco Šopov was born on December 20, 1923 in Štip (in the Eastern part of Macedonia). He died on April 20, 1982 in Skopje following a long illness. A brief view of his life is available in the Display Case.
1923: Birth of Aco Šopov, in Štip.
1934: His mother, Kostadinka Ruševa, falls seriously ill.
1938: Aco writes his first intimate poems, which have come down to us, in a school notebook. 1940: Writes his first collection of socially inspired poetry, which disappears, along with other clandestine documents, in a police raid, during the occupation.
1941: Becomes a member of the Yugoslav Communist Youth.
1942: With two high school mates, he publishes the newspaper Spark clandestinely.
1943: He gets his high school certificate in his home town and joins the Partisan resistance in the mountains.
1944: He publishes the newspaper of the Third Macedonian Shock Brigade, Fire, in which his war poems appear. At the end of the year, his first book is published: Poems.
1945: Appointed Vice-President of the National Liberation Youth Union of Macedonia (NOMSM). First trip to the USSR as a member of a Yugoslav youth delegation. Editor-in-chief of The Young Combatant, a youth newspaper. Launch of the arts, science and social sciences magazine Nov Den (New Day), of which Šopov is one of the editors and later the editor-in-chief; it lasts until 1950.
1946: Graduates from the Đuro Đaković High School of the Party, in Belgrade. Participates in the First Congress of Yugoslav Writers, as a member of the Nominating Committee and the Supervisory Board. Publication of the collection The Youth Railway, co-written with Slavko Janevski, during their participation in the construction of the first railway in Yugoslavia after the Second World War, the “Brčko Banovići Youth Railway”. A thousand foreign youth participated in it, alongside more than sixty thousand Yugoslavs.
1947: Šopov becomes one of the eight founding members of the Society of Writers of Macedonia, which he will chair several times.
1948: Birth of his son Vladimir, from his marriage to Blagorodna.
1950: Editor-in-chief of Future, a magazine of literature and art for young people. Publication of the collections On Mount Gramos and With Our Hands.
1951: Founds and directs the Kočo Racin Publishing House. Publication of his translations of Ciciban, by Oton Župančič, and Lay of Opanas, by Édouard Bagritski (the latter, in collaboration with Slavko Janevski). The magazine Nov den (New Day) gets a new look. It becomes Sovremenost (Modern Times), under Šopov’s leadership.
1952: First stay in Paris. Publication of the collection Verses of Sorrow and Joy, which provokes virulent controversies about Šopov’s intimism and divides Macedonian writers into two opposing camps.
1953: Publication of Ivan Krylov’s Fables, translated by Šopov.
1954: His translations of Poems by Jovan Jovanović-Zmaj and Telegraphic Fables by Gustav Krklec are published.
1955: Publication of the collection Merge with the Silence. The controversy continues. Publication of a collection of twelve French stories translated by Šopov.
1956: Šopov becomes the first editor-in-chief of the literar y magazine Horizont.
1957: Šopov’s collection The Wind Carries Beautiful Weather, his collection in Slovenian Zlij se s tišino (Merge with the Silence), and his translation of Cyrano are published.
1958: Publication of The Cid by Pierre Corneille, translated by Šopov.
1959: Publication of Poem for the Lark by Grigor Vitez, translated by Šopov, and of the Anthology of Yugoslav Revolutionary Poetry, which Šopov co-edited with the Bosnian poet Mak Dizdar. He is awarded the 1941 Partisan Commemorative Medal.
1960: Publication of Shakespeare’s Hamlet translated by Šopov (Eleventh October Prize). President of the Union of Translators of Yugoslavia, until 1963. Birth of his daughter Jasmina from his marriage to Svetlana.
1961: Graduates from the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje. Second stay in Paris. Šopov initiates the Struga Poetry Evenings, the oldest annual international poetry festival in the world. Awarded the Order of the Republic with silver crown.
1962: First chairman of the board of the Struga Poetry Evenings.
1963: Publication of Poems, a selection of old and new poems by Šopov himself, and of the collection Not-being – Nebidnina (Eleventh October Prize). Skopje earthquake. Several poems are directly inspired by this tragedy, some of them written two years later. Member of the Yugoslav jury for the selection of the plan and construction of the mausoleum of Petar Petrović Njegoš, in Lovćen, Montenegro.
1964: Publication of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (excerpts), translated by Šopov, of Ветер приносит ь погожие дни (The Wind Carries Beautiful Weather), a collection of his poetry translated into Russian mostly by Yuri Levitansky, and of Örök várakozó (The Eternal Waiting), translated into Hungarian by Fehér Ferenc.
1965: Publication of his translation of The Sea and the Colours by Grigor Vitez and Poetry by Izet Sarajlić.
1966: Publication of Birth of the Word, a selection of old and new poems by Šopov himself, Predvečerje (Evening), poems selected and translated into Serbo-Croatian by the Montenegrin poet Sreten Perović and Evening over the City by Dragutin Tadijanović, translated by Šopov. President of the jury of the March Short Film Festival in Belgrade.
1967: Publication of Poems, a selection of poems for eighth grade students, and Selected Works: Poetry by Miroslav Krleža, translated by Šopov. Editor-in-chief (for two years) of the satirical newspaper Osten (Spur). Becomes one of the fourteen founding members of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Visits Moscow on the occasion of the celebration of the October Revolution, at the invitation of the Union of Soviet Writers.
1968: Publication of his satirical poetry collection The YUniverse, his Selected Poems (edited by Georgi Stardelov) and his translation of 60 Sonnets by Shakespeare. Elected president of the jury of the Pula Festival (Croatia), the most important film festival in Yugoslavia. President of the Union of Writers of Yugoslavia. Honorary member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
1969: Publication of The Golden Circle of Time, a selection of old and new poems made by Šopov himself. Appointed editorial director of the publishing house Makedonska kniga (Macedonian Book). Chairman of the Board of the Struga Poetry Evenings. Awarded the Order of Labour with Red Flag. Travels to the USSR at the invitation of the Union of Soviet Writers.
1970: Publication of the collection Reader of the Ashes (Kočo Racin Literary Award). Winner of the Children’s Literature Festival Prize, Serbia, for his translation of the works of Jovan Jovanović-Zmaj. Winner of the AVNOJ prize, the highest Yugoslav award.
1971: As a poet and man of culture, Šopov is appointed Yugoslav ambassador to Senegal. This diplomatic mission lasts until 1975, during which time he translates a large selection of poetry by the poet and president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor. Šopov presents Senghor as a candidate for the Golden Wreath, the main award of the Struga Poetry Evenings.
1974: Ugnus-milestiba (The Fire’s Love), a book of Šopov’s poetry in Latvian is published in Riga, translated by Knut Skujenieks.
1975: Official visit of Senghor to Yugoslavia and reception of the poetry prize in Struga. Publication of Senghor’s Poems, works selected by Šopov and translated by him (in collaboration with Vlada Urošević and Georgi Stalev).
1976: Publication of the collection The Song of the Black Woman, inspired by Šopov’s stay in Senegal (Miladinov Brothers Award at the Struga Poetry Eve – nings), of a bilingual, Macedonian and Serbo-Croatian selection of his poems under the title Poems (edited by Georgi Stardelov) and of his Selected Works in five volumes (edited by Slobodan Micković). Šopov is appointed Chairman of the Republican Commission for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. He organises the Days of Macedonian Culture in Rome and Brussels.
1977: Publication of the booklet (limited collector’s edition) Man is immense, the ocean, small (edited by Georgi Stardelov), the collection The Long Coming of the Fire. Selected Poems, in a Serbo-Croatian translation by Sreten Perović, and The Song of the Black Woman, in a Croat-Serbian translation by Elina Elimova. Šopov organises the Days of Macedonian Culture in Zagreb. His health begins to deteriorate: in January, he stays at the University Clinical Centre in Ljubljana (Slovenia); in July, he convalesces in Brezovica (Kosovo). Days of Macedonian Culture in Paris and Tito’s official visit to France in October. Šopov goes as a member of the delegation, having retired shortly before from professional life for health reasons.
1978: Publication of a selection of his poems in French, translated by Djurdja Sinko-Depierris and Jean-Louis Depierris, under the title En chasse de ma voix (Seeking My Voice). Stay at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. In February, he writes, among other things, the “Elegy of the Poet Clochard”. November: literary evening dedicated to Šopov at the Yugoslav Cultural Centre in Paris.
1979: Stay in Zagreb, Croatia, for health reasons.
1980: Publication of the collection The Tree on the Hill, his last book of new poems. Stay in the USSR for health reasons.
1981: Publication of Scar, poems selected by Šopov himself, and Na şterea cuvéntului (Birth of the Word), poems selected and translated into Romanian by Ion Deaconescu.
1982: Death of Aco Šopov on April 20th .