|SLOVENIAN WRITERS AND POETS IN AUSTRALIA
Prof Igor Maver (University of Ljubljana) writes:
The literary creativity of Slovenian migrants in Australia started soon after the biggest influx of migration to Australia at the beginning of the 1950s. It was then that the publication of the journal Misli [Thoughts] started (1952), where along with the discussion of religious issues and life among the migrants, the Slovenian Catholic priests first tried their hand at writing literary pieces – Rev. Klavdij Okorn and Rev. Bernard Ambrožič. Later lay persons started publishing their works in the journal, among them Neva Rudolf and Ivan Burnik-Legiša. Rudolf lived in Australia only a couple of years; however, with her collection of poems Južni Križ [The Southern Cross] (1958) and the collection of sketches, Avstralske Črtice [Australian Sketches] (1958), though not published on Australian ground, she was one of the first literary authors among the Slovenians living in Australia. With the publication of the migrant magazine Vestnik [The Bulletin] in that period literary creativity received a new impetus and a new possibility of getting migrant literature published emerged. Ivan Burnik-Legiša, despite his numerous collections of verse, has drawn critical attention only in the last two decades with his collections Jesensko Listje [Autumn Leaves] (1991), Za Pest Drobiža [For a Handful of Coins] (1993), Hrepenenje in Sanje [Yearning and Dreams] (1995), and Klic k Bogu: Pesmi [The Call of God: Poems] (2008). In the poems he recollects his youth at home in Slovenia; it seems he has nevercome to accept the new Australian environment as his very own, while, clearly estranged, he does not feel at home in Slovenia either.
The first book in the Slovenian language to be published in Australia was the collection of poems by Bert Pribac, Bronasti Tolkač [The Bronze Knocker] (1962). Among his numerous publications, the collections V Kljunu Golobice [In the Beak of a Dove] (1973) and Prozorni Ljudje [Transparent People] (1991) have to be mentioned, and more recently Kiss Me Koštabona = Poljubi me, Koštabona: Ljubezenske Pesmi in Baladice [Kiss Me Koštabona: Love Poems and Short Ballads] (2003) and Tam daleč pod Južnim križem [Far Away under the Southern Cross] (2010) which indicate that Pribac with his substantial quality literary output ranks along with Jože Žohar and Pavla Gruden among the very best Slovenian migrant poets in Australia (see Maver 1994). In 2000 the second edition of his first collection Bronasti Tolkač with some additional poems was published in Slovenia in Koper, the Northern part of the Istrian peninsula. In these the poet, both a Slovenian Istrian and an Australian, symbolically (and literally) returns to Slovenia, although he remains split between the two countries.
Pribac can be placed high among Slovenian poets writing in Australia.
Jože Žohar and Pavla Gruden are among the very best Slovenian migrant poets in Australia (see Maver 1994).
Together with Jože Žohar, Danijela Hliš and Jože Čuješ, Bert Pribac was a co-founder of SALUK (1983), the Slovenian-Australia Literary and Cultural Circle, which was founded as a natural outgrowth of the literary magazine Svobodni Razgovori (see Suša 1996 and 1999). This magazine, established in 1982 by the energetic editor Pavla Gruden, was a natural Slovenian literary response to Naš List, a literary journal of Yugoslav migrant writers in Australia and New Zealand. SALUK gathered most literary Slovenians in Australia, but its foremost merit was that it brought its exponents during the 1980s into close contact with their Slovenian counterparts, resulting in numerous publications of Slovenian migrant authors in Slovenia and several organised reading tours. There were three major literary anthologies published during that time by SIM, the Slovenian Emigrant Association from Ljubljana, which featured fictional and verse works by the authors gathered in SALUK: Zbornik Avstralskih Slovencev (1985; An Anthology of Australian Slovenians), Zbornik Avstralskih Slovencev (1988; An Anthology of Australian Slovenians), and Lipa Šumi med Evkalipti (1990; The Lime-tree Rustles among the Eucalypts).
Prof Igor Maver: Cultural Achievements of the Slovene Diaspora in Australia
Prof Igor Maver: Slovenian Migrant Literature in Australia
Prof Igor Maver: Slovene Migrant Poetry in Australia Written in English
A Slovene view of Australia (Criticism)
Slovenian Writers and Poets in Australia:
Draga Gelt OAM
Ivan Burnik Legiša