Some Bulgarian Poems and a Play is an anthology containing samples of Bulgarian poetry from the late Revival period (1860’s) until the height of the totalitarian culture (1960’s). The selection belongs to the prominent translator Zheny Bozhilova-Haytova. It represents the taste and the choice of a person familiar with poetry and sensitive to it, but who was apparently acquainted rather with the officious than with the dissident circles of our literary past. Yet, nowadays, this aspect has its value, as it throws light on really good texts which the contemporary audience, in its general antagonism to the totalitarian burden, tends to underestimate. Thus, this edition could be read in a way as a monument of decades which are likely to sink into oblivion for quite a while. There are also a number of authors here, who belong to the classical canon of Bulgarian literature - from Hristo Botev to Atanas Dalchev. A genre exception in the book is a play by Nikolay Haytov, which had been included by the editor because of sentimental reasons.
The texts are translated by Kevin Mark Ireland and Donka Marinova-Ireland.
In 1959, the established New Zealand poet Kevin Ireland moved from London to Sofia. In Bulgaria, he and Zheny Bozhilova worked on translations of Bulgarian poetry for Bulgarian foreign-language periodicals, such as Bulgaria Today. Kevin was also connected to Sofia Press where he spent a year as an editor and where he and his wife Donka Mar inova worked as translators for 14 years. After their divorce, Kevin returned to New Zealand. Apart from the multiple awards in his native country, in 1983 he became a recipient of an OBE given to him by Queen Elizabeth II for “contribution to literature”. Kevin is a prolific writer having recently published his 17th book of poems, along with short stories, science-fiction and 4 novels.