Christopher Buxton translating Zhivka Ivanova

Translator Statement

Zhivka Ivanova’s “Day and Night” captures the fragility of personal relationships, played out on a social stage, where public pressures, often in the form of family responsibilities, drive lovers apart. What attracts me as a translator is the lucidity of the imagery, the beautiful consistency of detail, leading to a triumphant affirmation of love in isolation. The poet writes, “I saw a beetle, smeared on the pavement and it stayed in my mind for the whole day. In the tranquillity of the evening, the poem was born. I hate clichés and talkativeness and that is the reason why my poems are short, colourful and memorable.”

Day and Night

Like a shiny beetle smeared
on the pavement
the day softly darkens
under footfall of the hours;
your silence
loses its spark—
it doesn’t stab me every time
when my telephone turns
deaf and dumb.
Again the dark slips on
its black overcoat,
but I pin
white solitude in my hair
so I can dance barefoot
the well-beaten dance floor
of our love.


Като размазан върху тротоара
лъскав бръмбар,
денят полека изтънява
под стъпките на часовете;
загубва блясък
твоето мълчание—
не ме пробожда всеки път,
щом телефонът ми се прави
на глухоням.
Навлича мракът
черния си фрак,
а аз забождам
бяла самота в косите си
и ще танцувам боса
добре утъпкания дансинг
на любовта ни.

Zhivka Ivanova

Zhivka Ivanova is a poet, short story writer, translator and teacher, living in Burgas, Bulgaria. She is the author of poetry anthologies Tuesday is Green (Faber, 2011), and 99 Limericks with Bulgarian Flavor (Script Design Studio, 2015). Ivanova’s translations include English and Russian poets Seamus Heaney, Craig Raine, Adrian Mitchel, Edwin Morgan, Vladimir Visotsky, and Robert Rozhdestvensky. Her book of short stories, The Knitting Woman, is forthcoming in Spring 2016 by Janet45 Press.

Christopher Buxton

Christopher Buxton is the author of seven novels, four published in Bulgaria, all reflecting on Bulgaria’s recent and distant turbulent past. He is a translator and editor of a full range of classical and contemporary Bulgarian fiction and poetry. His work has appeared in Istros books and Dalkey Press as well as several internet literary magazines. He has been invited to be a lead speaker at a 2016 conference on translation of Balkan Literature at the British Library.