• Stefanov, Dimitar

    Dimitar Stefanov
    (20 March 1932 – 19 October 2018)

    Dimitar StefanovDimitar Stefanov, a Bulgarian poet, writer, editor and translator, also known as ‘the doyen of Bulgarian haiku’, was born on 20 March 1932 in a small village near Dryanovo, Bulgaria. In 1950 he graduated High School in Dryanovo and then studied Czech and Bulgarian philology at the Charles University in Prague. After graduation he was editor and editor-in-chief of the literary section at Radio Sofia (1955-1969). In the following years he was editor to various newspapers and journals, among them the popular Plamak magazine and the Literary Front newspaper.

    Dimitar’s first collection of poems was published in 1957. He was the author of more than twenty books of poems, sonnets, essays; more than ten books for children. He translated mainly from Czech and Slovak languages. He was the first Bulgarian poet to publish his own book of haiku The Forest of Dandelion (Гората на глухарчето) in 1988. Dimitar also edited the first Bulgarian haiku anthology Rain Seeds (Дъждовни семена) in 2001 which included poems by ninety authors. This book played a great role in the popularizing of the haiku genre in Bulgaria.

    Dimitar Stefanov was founding member and chairman of the first organization of haiku poets in the country - the Bulgarian Haiku Club. It was founded in 2000, when Jim Kacian and Dimitar Anakiev visited Bulgaria to organize the Haiku Movement in the Balkans. Later this organization was renamed to the Bulgarian Haiku Union (BHU). Dimitar Stefanov died on 19 October 2018 at the age of 86. He left a rich legacy as a poet, essayist and translator. He has translated over 50 books of poetry and prose from Czech, Old Czech, Russina, and Serbian, and with verbatim text - from Old French, Hindi and Japanese. Some of his books have been translated in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, England, and Slovenia. He was also presented in haiku anthologies, almanacs and magazines in many European countries, in Argentina, India, the United States and Japan, in more than twenty languages.

    Awards and honours:

    • the Czechoslovakian Peter Bezruc Award in the late 1960s;
    • awarded the National Prize for Literature "Racho Stoyanov" in 1989;
    • Hviezdoslav Prize for Translation of Slovak literature in 1998;
    • an honorary diploma of the Ministry of Culture for his contribution to the development and promotion of Bulgarian culture in 2005;
    • a Golden medal of the Slovak Foreign Ministry;
    • award from the Bulgarian Union of Translators for his translation of Old Czech Satires from the 14th century;
    • Honorary member of the Independent Writers' Club – Bratislava;
    • the Doctor honoris causa of the World Academy of Arts and Culture (WAAC );
    • In 2012 he was appointed an honorary citizen of the town of Dryanovo.


    Haiku books and anthologies:

    • The Forest of the Dandelion (Гората на глухарчето). Opiti za haiku, Sofia, “Bulgarski pisatel”, 1988; reprinted in 1994;
    • Innocent essences (Невинни същности), haiku, 1996;
    • Autumn Thrills(Есенни тръпки), Matsuo Basho Library, Serbia, 1996, tr. by Dimitar Anakiev;
    • Non-flickering Blue. 303 haiku (НеприМИГващо синьо. 303 хайку), Hristo Botev, Sofia 1999;
    • Rain Seeds (Дъждовни семена),
    • Both of us. Haiku in Bulgarian, English and Russian (Двамата с тебе. Хайку на български, английски и руски ), 2003;
    • Ptitsata(Птицата),
    • Invisibilities (Невидимости), haibun , Sofia, 2005;
    • All that. 40 poems and 40 haiku (Всичко онова. 40 стихотворения и 40 хайку), Sofia, 2012.


    Selected haiku:

    Bees searching through
    yellow dandelions.
    Spring is here.

    In the full bucket
    full moon

    (The Forest of the Dandelion (Гората на глухарчето), Bulgarski pisatel, Sofia, 1988)


    Cold moon –
    shadows within shadows
    along the snowy road.

    (Knots, The anthology of Southeastern European haiku Poetry, edited by Dimitar Anakiev & Jim Kacian, Tolmin, 1999)


    A seahorse!
    A seahorse! My kingdom
    for a seahorse!

    You and I
    were kids
    last millennium

    The moon is drawing
    silky rustle
    from the mulberry tree.

    (Non-flickering Blue (Непремигващо синьо). 303 haiku, Hristo Botev, Sofia 1999)


    cold moon –
    shadows within shadows
    along the snowy road

    (Shamrock, issue 1, 2007 - transl. by the author)

    bit by a blizzard
    then bandaged up by it

    (Shamrock, issue 1, 2007 - transl. by Ludmila Kolechkova and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)


    coming from fog
                                 the bird flies through fog
                                                 fading into fog

    (Innocent Entities (Невинни същности), Sofia, 1996; Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing by Gabriel Rosenstock, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009)


    Лятната луна
    – но защо и животът? –
    в последна четвърт.

    The summer moon
    - But why is life as well? –
    in its last quarter.

    (Haiku Svyat (Хайку свят) #1, 2013)


    прикована с карфица –
    нова Голгота.

    A butterfly
    fixed with a pin –
    new Golgotha.

    (The Leaves Are back on the Tree, International anthology, Athens, 2002, ed. Zoe Savina; Beyond Words/Отвъд думите, bilingual haiku anthology, Farrago, Sofia 2018)


    Със жълти човчици
    дрянът лови
    февруарски снежинки.

    With little yellow beaks
    the dogwood catches
    February snowflakes.

    (Beyond Words/Отвъд думите, bilingual haiku anthology, Farrago, Sofia 2018)