Nikolay Todorov translating Vladislav Hristov

Translator Note

When I met with Vladislav, it already felt as if we knew each other. He is open-hearted and generous not only in words, but in deeds. He uses contemporary states and ideas, expressed through words that do not lose their meaning with time but perhaps grow stronger and more seasoned. Sometimes I wonder how he manages to preserve all the sides of his personality: so social, communicative and open to the new, and so personal.


the river will run in another direction
the fishermen with their boats will come next
and further on the drowning men with the floats:
in that sunday afternoon
some two are walking embraced on the shore
not knowing of any consequences


реката ще тръгне в друга посока
всички рибари и лодки ще я последват
след тях удавниците и спасителните пояси:
в този неделен следобед
двама вървят прегърнати по брега
без да подозират за последствията


rats gnaw the dusk
for the sunrays
to enter
she’s not coming back in the room
wait for her somewhere else
some dry spot or a shelter
for your eyes to meet
for your hands to wind up
like snakes in the shade
of a tombstone


плъховете изгризват мрака 
за да влязат 
лъчите на слънцето 
тя няма да се върне в стаята 
чакай я на друго място 
сушинка някаква заслон 
където да се срещнат очите ви 
ръцете ви да се сплетат 
змии в сянката на 
гробищен камък

the room

people set off in a silence
and the room remained barren
but later again they pricked in
shouts and trumpets
the tears sucked into the ground
the laughter amid the bricks
and afterwards the room
again barren
the janitor entering boldly
with bucket and clout
‘cos she thinks it ain’t right
a dead man to be brought
in a dirty room


тихо си тръгвали хората
и стаята празна оставала
после шумно я населявали
с викове и тромпети
сълзите в пода попивали
смехът между тухлите
след това стаята
пак я опразвали
чистачката влизала бодро
с парцала и кофата
щото не било прието
мъртвец в мръсна стая
да внасят

an eve with an umbrella

wait for me there
to keep the place dry
it’s a mound for a many-a-men
and water should not soak in:
bones will swell up
the legs will move on
the hands will grab
and just like that could
drag you down
in the mound


остани там
да им пазиш сушина
това е могила
пълна с кости на мъжове
вода не бива да попива:
костите набъбват
краката се движат
ръцете грабят
току-виж те дръпнали
долу в могилата

a nest in the attic

come back alone without the dog
and other conventions
this home now deprived of all noises
the walls tumble down
there’s not many space for the body
soon it will lessen
a nest in the attic
to live anew
like a swallow
may be you have never expected
that this may happen
to a beloved woma


върна се сама без кучето
и другите условности
този дом сега е лишен от шумове
стените падат
място не остава за тялото
скоро тя ще си свие
гнездо на тавана
и ще заживее в него
като лястовица
едва ли някога си допускал
че това ще се случи
с любимата ти жен

the southern park

the kicking of the leaves in the park
is a lingering childhood ritual
now i do it solely
when i am quite sad:
i go to the park
and kick kick kick
the damn leaves
and then it all lightens
except for the pain in the tendon
staying to spend the night with me
like a true sentry


ритането на листа в парка
е ритуал останал от детството
сега го правя само когато
ми е много тъжно:
отивам в парка
и ритам ритам ритам
проклетите листа
после олеква
само болката в сухожилието
остава през нощта с мен
като верен страж

johnny walker

in a few drinks
his head heads for the floor
to feel that hardness
felt way back
in the childhood
at pressing his forehead
against the dim window


след няколко питиета
главата му поема към пода
за да усети онази твърдост
която усещаше
в детството си
допирайки с чело
изпотения прозорец

how the autumn arrives

a girl is gathering flowers
and by an error she picks up the summer


момиченце бере цветя
но погрешка откъсва лятото


on the map i mark it
with pins
she has bred
like my fears
of not finding her 


на картата я отбелязвам
със топлийки
размножила се е
като страховете ми
че няма никога да я открия

silences and noises

the elevator with a woman
first night of the baby
last—of the deceased
always someone who coughs


в асансьора с жена
първата нощ на бебето
последната на мъртвеца
все някой ще се изкашля

Crusoe's living room

our silence
splits the room in half
each of us lives
in his own part
rife with cannibals and wild goats


мълчанието ни
разцепва стаята на две
всеки живее в своята половина
пълна с човекоядци и диви кози

Vladislav Hristov

Vladislav Hristov was born in 1976 in Shumen, Bulgaria. He is the author of numerous publications in a wide range of literary periodicals as well as the books Photos of Children (short prosaic works, 2010), Enso (poems, 2012, nominated for the Ivan Nikolov Prize), Fi (poems, 2013), and Germanii (poems, 2014). Hristov is a member of The Haiku Foundation and a first-prize winner in the 2007 LiterNet and eRunsMagazine competition for short prosaic works; the 2010 third national competition for haiku on a free topic, and the 2011 international Cherry Blossom competition (2011). For three consecutive years, Hristov has been ranked one of the 100 most creative haiku writers in Europe. His haiku have been published in Frogpond, World Haiku Review, Simply Haiku, Sketchbook, The Heron’s Nest, Мodern Haiku, The Mainichi Daily News, and Granta, among others. Works by Hristov have been translated into English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, and Hungarian.

Nikolay Todorov

Nikolay Todorov was born in 1982 in Sofia, Bulgaria. He started translating actively in 2009 and has since translated more than ten books of both poetry and prose. He preserves a keen interest in such authors as Miguel de Unamuno, Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Rabindranath Tagore, Emily Dickinson, Maurice Maeterlinck, Paul Valery, and Andrei Bely. He not only introduces surprising works of theirs in translation but explores their ideas in his scholarly endeavors as a PhD in History of Literature at the University of Sofia, with a focus on late modernism.