Agron Shele — Poet Contemplating the Cult of Individuality
Agron Shele was born in October 7th, 1972, in the Village of Leskaj, city of Permet, Albania. Is the author of the following literary works: “The Steps of Clara” (Novel), “Beyond a grey curtain” (Novel), “Wrong Image” (Novel) , “Innocent Passage” (Poetry), Whiste stones ( poetry) RIME SPARSE - Il suono di due voci poetiche del Mediterraneo (Poesie di Agron Shele e Claudia Piccinno), La mia Musa (“Libri di-versi in diversi libri” – Italy, 2020); “Ese-I and Ese-II) ” . Mr. Shele is also the coordinator of International Anthologies: “Open Lane- 1,” “Pegasiada , Open Lane- 2 , ATUNIS magazine ( Nr 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )” and Atunis Galaxy Antholgy 2018, 2019, 2020. He is winner of some international literary prizes. He is a member of the Albanian Association of Writers, member of the World Writers Association, in Ohio, United States, Poetas del Mundo, WPS, Unione world Poetry and the President of the International Poetical Galaxy “Atunis”. He is published in many newspapers, national and international magazines, as well as published in many global anthologies: Almanac 2008, 2017; World Poetry Yearbook 2009, 2013, 2015, The Second Genesis -2013, Kibatek 2015-Italy, Metafora (Poland), Keleno- Greece, etc. Currently Resides in Belgium and continues to dedicate his time and efforts in publishing literary works with universal values.
Interview for Opa Magazine
OPA How long have you been writing and publishing Poetry? We would like to know the early stories about your growing up as a poet and publisher in general. Who are your favorite Poets? What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? Had they inspired you a lot, do you believe in inspiration as a guiding force behind writings at all?
AGRON SHELE: Poets are the forerunners of sparkling dawns, they are the muse of a spirit and dreams full of hope, they are the breadth and music of a divine word, are the brightest colors of our civilization!
The connection of mine with poetry starts in an early age with the great European Renaissance movement authors such as Robert Burns, Alexander Pushkin, Heinrich Heine, Sergej Jesenin, but especially my favourite one was Charles Baudelaire. Influenced by these authors I started to write poetry and prose and latter dedicated some time to essays. As of today I have published: “The Steps of Clara” (Novel), “Beyond a grey curtain” (Novel), “Wrong Image” (Novel) , “Innocent Passage” (Poetry) and “Ese-I.”
There is no question that poetry is muse, deep spiritual inspiration, is a feeling, aesthetical and inner eloquence, this is why writing verses is more than a reflection of beyond the soul in harmony with all natural elements and life process.
OPA What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer and publisher? What was the biggest compliment? Did that change how or what you write? What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?
AGRON SHELE: In the beginning of my literary work I have been guided by the rigid rules of literary criticism that my professor Perikli Jorgoni has instilled on me, who was attracted to my talent since my high school years, so at the age of 16 he has always guided me in regards to the new literary techniques, poetical structure or the shape of a prose, the message and poetical explorations.
The many publications in a number of international encyclopedias and literary works earned during this time have been the greatest compliment of my tireless work. In regards to the reader, I have a special memory. He had read the novel “Beyond the Grey Drape”, of course the topic was universal where many youngsters could find themselves in the character of this book and he came up to me: “Thank you for writing for me”.
OPA What is your favorite poem you have ever written? Compared to when you first started writing, have you notice any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?
AGRON SHELE: My literary work started with a classical poetry, verses that are well organized with a concise rhyme, in order to pass latter at the free verse and hermetical shapes. The written poems cannot be identified as to what are my favorites, but the lyrical motives and those philosophical interpretations make me to feel good and much more fulfilled professionally. The compared artistic writing of mine between now and the early days has greater changes, because from the lyrical verses now I am shifting to the hermetic style, surrealism and even absurdity. However for me every poem is not a well determined rule, but a structure where every word represents a world and a word represents a civilization.
OPA What has been your favorite part of being a poet or an author? What has been your least favorite?
AGRON SHELE: I travel through poetry and prose and those who inspire me the most is the shape of life, its concepts and illusions, its magic and mysticism that is dressing it, but also the natural elements, the color of seasons, the beauty of a blossoming flower of spring, or the feeling that is shared through the fall of a leaf in autumn, a dawn fading away or a rebirth of a sun in the morning. These traces become so deep so that symbolized through the human nature, is a body and soul, they impose on me a rare emotion but also a creative muse for my art in specific and my performance latter on. Those authors that are always filled with magic for me and that I read very frequently are: Charles Baudelaire, T. S. Elliot, Stefan Zweig and Dan Brown in prose.
OPA Did you get to quit your day job and become a writer and publisher, or do you still have a day job and writing and publishing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?
My full commitment is focused in the art of writing, the accomplishment of all literary projects undertaken by ATUNIS Association of Writers, the publication of the latest literary information in almost ten different languages in the website of ATUNIS, the cooperation with many literary associations, literary conferences, international events, as well as the publication of the ATUNIS Magazine. I am also preparing another poetical volume, a book entitled “Essay 2” and finalizing my newest novel. I cannot separate art from my daily duties, but every weekend, when I have free time I dedicate attention to international authors, or finalize the newest edition of Literary Magazine. What represents literature for me: is indeed an endless improvement without borders, but also as a deep spiritual feeling and turbulent from the voyage of time and colors of life, I invest every effort to be perfect in my literary publications, as we approach the most humane paths full of universality for the future.
OPA Besides writing and publishing, what is your most favorite thing to do? What genre are you most looking forward to explore during your writing career? Why?
AGRON SHELE: What inspires me the most is the endless world of essays and literary works that come from many authors such as: Agron Tufa, Entela Kasa, Visar Zhiti, Elida Rusta, Luan Rama, Flutura Açka, Fatos Kongoli, Jeta Vojkollari or international authors such as: Tersinka Pereira, Roula Pollard, Pavol Janik, Maria Miraglia, Epitacio Tongohan, Terane Turan Rehimli, Nuri Can, Alicia Minjarez Ramírez, Muhammad Shanzar, Hasije Selishta Kryeziu, Adolf P. Shvedchikov, Luz María López, Dino Koubatis, Alicja Kurbeska, Duska Vrhovac, Dorin Popa, Tatjana Debeljacki, Kuldeep Srivastava, Kinga Fabo, including various international translators; Peter Tase, Aristidh Ristani, Petro Çekrezi, etc. They are the critical mass and promoters of a literary movement and of such an art that is always in the move. I am also very happy to assist many colleagues with my assistance in promoting their work before literary criticism and readers, by writing book reviews and editing their new projects.
OPA: Do you think literature or poetry is essential in our life? If so why? How does it relate to the general history of mankind?
This is a great question. If we did not have the language of writing, there would not be a prose or poetry, I don’t know how the highest level of emancipation would be accomplished or to read our own history, without the values of writing. It is the Greek mythology, roman mythology that is shedding light on what has been the course of humanity, represented by famous writers: Dante Alighieri, Shakespeare, Voltaire, who are showing us the way medieval style of life, to pass latter on into classicism and European romanticism and the most modern ways of life, which bring different genre, but in the psychological and philosophical concept they consist in the memory of all culture that is guiding us towards today’s reality and towards a better tomorrow.
OPA Our readers would like to know your own personal experience regarding the importance of literature and poetry in your life.
AGRON SHELE: When I was a child my passion was attached to fiction literature and would get lost on their magic. Later on I read everything that I had access to, and started to distinguish the works that would further shape me. I dreamed of becoming a writer, when I published my first novel I could not believe it. This encouraged me to move forward, towards strengthening my literary style, among hermetic framework and surrealism in poetry and the fast translation of narratives of an event. Where the reader would have to read every chapter on a single breadth and to be mystified in the final conclusion of this work, which leaves the debate open among many readers of a certain prose. What is the influence of literature on me? I don’t know, its borders are endless, but I would never conceive the beauty of this world without the art and true taste of this literature, without touching the pages of a book.
OPA Do you think people in general bother about literature in general? Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?
AGRON SHELE: The development of art, is most important for authors and then for readers, which are influenced towards their own shapes and modalities in life. I would say that good literature or the elitist literature may not be as assimilative and could have a smaller number of readers, this is because of the shape of sentences and the metaphysical context of literary works, but such a type of art is trespassing tomorrow and remains as the memory of all developments and perfectionism of all humans as a whole, including civilization that is the product of such visions and great horizons in general. On discussions with my colleagues, I have heard often expressions such as this one, for example poetry is in a crisis and has lesser readers. Perhaps poetry could have less readers, but poetry is always a literary accomplishment and demands refined readers, is the substance of all knowledge and is a murmuring sound that is tearing apart many clever ears and open minds, meanwhile fluidity of these soft verses is very fragile and always impressing us all.
OPA If humanity tries to understand tradition and modernism; do you think literature can play a pivotal role in obtaining understanding? If so, how? Again, how can an individual writer relate himself or herself with the tradition and modernism?
Nietzsche used to say: “The world can be considered as an art work that generates itself.” As a result the conclusion is that generation of all perceptions on what we represent and how we should move forward is and will always be the art. How are we going to move towards tomorrow if we don’t know where are we coming from, what are the boundaries that we have already passed, in what way have we come here and what are the experiences and objections for tomorrow, if we would have the luxury to alternate the previous experiences with today’s traditions.
So it is unavoidable the juxtaposition of the past with the present, in order to consolidate the societal accomplishments and artistic ventures towards the universality of all values, as a spiritual unification, but also as a philosophy towards the visualization of new trends of modernity. Literature continues to be primary on all great transformations of a culture or tradition, because it is such an inception of writing that consolidates language, runs through different time periods, destroys and raises the cults that are raised by humans themselves and always runs towards a richer articulation, but also facing challenges with the time frames produced in the past.
OPA Do you think society is a factor in shaping you as a poet, or your poetry altogether?
AGRON SHELE: I would think the opposite because I believe in the cult of individuality. This does not imply the theory of number one, that were turned into disciples and following them with blind eyes, where crowds are dead and rise up, but at the geniality of great people, philosophers, poets and writers that have changed societal mentalities and have made the world into a more human place.
The selection of art is an intellectual responsibility, but also is a mission that must guide the independent and coherent opinion, to build peace and harmony among people, to raise other rainbows among the skies of societies which represent and shining it with colors of hope. I believe in a society that is more liberalized, more open where each one could find itself and all must contribute for their own better future. My focus through verses or prose has in itself this purpose as an idealist I believe that tomorrow must be more peaceful, with a better social justice and without any violence.
OPA We would like to know about any influences that has inspired your poetry and writings.
AGRON SHELE: My own beginning, just like that of any author, have been influenced by the local literature and also the foreign literature, this is observed on my early writing, until I was consolidated and established my own stature.
I cannot hide the influence on me of many national writers such as: Ismail Kadare, Diana Culi, Petro Marko, who have left many deep roots on my personal formation as a writer, but also poets such as: Lasgush Poradeci, Fatos Arapi and Azem Shkreli, also have impressed me with their poetical colors, their melodies and poetical colors, the power of words and verses. Meanwhile the reading of world literature would be focused on the courtyard of Baudelaire and poetry by Stephan Zweig, Theodor Dreiser and Erik Segal in Prose.
OPA We would also like to know; how do you relate the present literary trends with the literary heritage of your country?
AGRON SHELE: My country has a rich tradition in literature influenced by cultures and mythologies that date back in ancient times, but also has oriental influences and western traditions that are embodied on each master piece. Located in a geographically important position such traces are very important and have remained fresh, these have created the first source of literature which is intertwined with the rich past and all modern developments of today. I would add that poetry is representing those images and portraits that have kept tied together all of the myths of time, we encounter Olympus at times, in other times we encounter Aphrodite, in other times we encounter the dispute among empires, or the gates of evil of Dante Alighieri and later on the disputed muse of Baudelaire all the way to the contemporary literature of today, which have reached the borders of absurdity and experimental forms.
OPA Do you believe that all writers are the product of their nationality? Is it an incentive or an obstacle in becoming an international writer?
I think that writers have a strong foundation of the culture that they represent and they are the product of the culture of their country, all the way to reaching the highest point of their artistic levels, later on when the borders of their work reach higher levels they become universal writers, so it includes a greater unification with an international cultutral value and with remnants that serve to decipher the time and after time of diversity in a different art, of a tradition that is as new and intriguing for all readers.
A writer is a cosmopolitan, a citizen of every nation and culture, for as long as he is integrated in the literary work and cultural networks of Europe and beyond. A writer is valuable to the world community because of his success in the literary work and due to his popularity, in forming new generation of intellectuals and experts. Their ideas, visions, and philosophical message are those that make the author to be loved by the reader and to be on a greater demand, without any ethnic separation, while internationalizing his name and work, and also globalizing the prestige of his country.
OPA How would you describe yourself in seven words?
AGRON SHELE: An author that is looking for the symbolism of an aesthetical Word.
OPA Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?
AGRON SHELE: The magic of the word is the best articulation of a synthesis and symbiotic memory and when words are raised into art the expressed power touches on the apex with a new high level. Literature with hits magical touch and its mysticism has attracted always many turbulent souls, souls that are reborn over the flirting of creational beauty, the beauty of life, natural beauty therefore reflects the aspirations, values and the purest thought on humanity. Such a high level of human vitality, where the word is transformed into a myth in the production of existence genius, is deciphering and shaping endlessly our civilization.
In regards to the relations between human – art – author I would emphasize:
Men lives within a timely space of longevity, meanwhile the writer lives within the time lapse of his literary work!
Translated: Peter Tase
When you hear the rain that falls over the bare trees from a bronze sky
And the rows of ravens all yellow
You ask yourself
Why only a tree stands tall?
In an empty park , lonely rotting day by day
Why do you care?
Maybe because that reminds you the time that has passed
And you feel more older than ever
Like a lonely bird abandoned when the winter comes
Surviving is the only chance
This time ,
When your thoughts are lost
And your face shows nothing more than sadness
In pale colours remained tattoo over your filthy skin
That is when you feel the touch of the last season
That is what reminds you of the long starry nights
All of this turns your spirit blue
....when the time passes
You can only see a rainbow that stares over an old church
You can only hear the whispers of monks as they go
But you can't hear the bell
What does that mean ?
You feel like an old abused statue with crossed arms
You wait for your sins to be forgiven
If only it was that easy
But no , your demons consume your soul every day
Your disgusting devious eyes only stare at one thing
The innocent saint Magdalene.
One day , you will understand
Feathers stay as proof of a flying bird
Lost far away from the horizon
No turning back
Anxiety of an escaped shadow
That this emigration has nothing in common with rainy days
Neither the blooming flowers
It is an unusual escape towards time , when the air smells the pain of earth .
Death of innocent leaves under the meaning of life until madness
that the darkness brings lonely nights
No light , that gives you hope
No dreams , that give you freedom
But only a dawn related to the shadows of life in chaos .
It feels like the poison of broken hopes
that scream will destroy the walls of broken memories
And what is dead will return to life
No more envy trapped in a spider web
And the voracious crowds and Kings without crowns.
Do not expect her to walk
in the cold streets with her scarf over one shoulder
Or tap the heels on the silent memories
nor mirroring her image in the shops window
because her effulgence
is stronger then the sun
that warms the ice transforming it in to a candle, touching the marrow of the earth
breaking the myths of winter
that die at the irises and yet,
to embrace the light.
An image that appears at the shine of stars
and with her the wind extends the hair
to a forest where the deers are sleeping
the tracks of their hooves are printed on the snow
like a magic hidden in lightning
slaves of fate and troubled dance
towards that image
that god himself created
in the kingdom of every living breath.
Do not expect her to be weakened
because pain walks with her blood
and the blood with the feeling of eternity
like a deity
of the force that lifts gods to their feet,
the angels, everyday,
understanding the silence
of the turn of centuries
because the life is more than one attempt
that walks through the gates of the rainbow
and opens the doors of life
to the smile of a woman!
TO THE GATE OF ORACLES
A breath has come from a distant whisper
and a ray that descends through the lights of attractive mornings
it is the very first bar of light ,
hidden behind the clouds ascended above
Navigating through spaces that are felt by wings
and descends in the frontiers of a mind amid the clarity named hope
depicted through organs that swallow every sound and color
of the worldly, where we are almost lost.
As a suffering letter escaping from the erosion of time
we depict our invisibility
and are excited about items gone and identify us today
the solair creek , of that sun ray turned into broken pieces
mirrored again tomorrow
and other explorations
will break the succumbed era,
as a symbol and fiery desire
as a trace of that life were a roving echo
will eulogize again the ancient land.
And when the largest gate of freedom
opened through gods and oracles standing above,
would convince the heart, that everything passes through angels that cross
then all source will be revived
into fire and shivering
would be the only brightness that will shine the world .
Every time we see the darkness of colours
and gorgeous become unsurpassed abysses
a simple eye returns towards you,
to you God,
and piety of hands of human weakness of its own shivering
from the peaks of sky were your throne has risen
for the light of salvation,
while forgetting that fait hand their are nearby the heart
and branches of generations reaching up to you,
daily deaths in every instant
and awakening with first sunrise
to push the wheel of world forward.
to bring a soul that is delighted
and grabs another one in order to return into a sand and elaborate the image.
Bells are sounding more often these times
And attention focused towards her sounds, echoes of abandoned streets for much time
eternal music that goes through the summit covered by angels
spread into genres, that inserts deeper into the niches of memory
and thoughts are erupting our senseless acts,
moving on a chandelier that brightens the wounds of a wrinkled moon
to show that mysterious travel
departed towards the gates of marble
and looking upon turns that gated windows from other world
Someone is calling in this pat hand turbulence
You name it: absolute, light, sorrow or silence
but he will scream again,
because the stained creature has placed him in danger
heavily without any hope, without a light, without a soul
and suddenly today returned has face towards him,
to gather the blessing and forget it tomorrow,
while God is ascending with his nails and struggling
towards the divine justice
towards the limits of our fragile flesh
where everybody is a dust lost in the winds
and every life is a relinquishing of a blessed breath.
TOGETHER WITH THE WIND
… why are you hiding from the sky’ s blue
the god will descend again
will follow that light in the last floor
and will get drunk from his muse,
lira will fill in musical chords
all sub floors and
the soul knows, as a soul dodging while flying
you will turn the world crazy as always.
The a scream will become a windy echo
and will follow into ether
the shadows of an insect drawn into a nymph
that turns around seven seas,
and when the white wave would relax in the shore
were gods are stepping
a red beauty will rise atop the wings
and will shine the whole life.
Not a pen, nor ink, not a pencil cannot describe
the one turned on and extinguished
as you destined fates and turned off wars
just like a Hellenist,
and the wings are open through the gates of sun
were you always opened a door
fort he one that came just like the last God
and was lost together with wind.