Aco Šopov: Not-Being (Небиднина), 1963
“What is nebidnina? There are many more or less successful translations of this word, but none of them can express its very essence. For me, this word says the destiny of our people: their struggles and sufferings, their aspirations and unfulfilled ideals, their loves and sorrows”, Aco Šopov said in an interview in 1976.
Translated as ‘non-être’, ‘noser’, ‘not-being’…, after having been translated as ‘néant’, ‘nada’, ‘fate’… “nebidnina” speaks about the impossibility of being, but also, to reiterate one of the author’s attempts to explain it, ‘fulfilment through non-fulfilment'(1979).
In “Nebidnina”, the poem that gave its title to this collection, “I tried to solve the problem of alienation,” observed the poet in an interview, in 1965. “Alienation, not as an abstract concept, not as a psychological category, but that alienation which is related to this land and this region. At the same time, I did not want to and could not give it a regional character.”
In a a previous interview, in 1962, before the publication of the book, he said: “With this title, I wanted to highlight a paradox: poetry, insofar as we understand and conceive it as essential, as superior to what we usually understand by the word life, in its various manifestations, is nevertheless incapable, even when it takes on the most accomplished forms and attains the heights of perfection, of encompassing all the richness and complexity of this word.”
With the books Not-Being (Nebidnina, 1963) and Reader of the Ashes (Gledač na pepelta, 1970), Šopov’s poetry expands into philosophical and existential questions, even as it remains firmly rooted in an exploration of the self.
The collection has been reprinted in 1967, 1970, 1971, 1974 and 1976.