balkan poetry todayweb
New journal focuses
on contemporary SE
European poetry

New journal focuses on contemporary SE European poetry

Published by Red Hand Books and edited by Tom Phillips, Balkan Poetry Today 2017 is the first edition of a new annual journal featuring contemporary poetry from across SE Europe. The poets range in age from their 20s to their 70s and include young and up-and-coming writers as well as established literary figures. In all, Balkan Poetry Today contains the work of more than 30 poets from a dozen different countries and illustrates the diversity and richness of the region’s literary culture. The first edition also includes a special focus on contemporary poetry from Bulgaria, an introduction to contemporary poetry from Macedonia and an overview of other publications featuring SE European poetry in translation.

balkan poetry today 2017

Amongst the poets who have contributed to Balkan Poetry Today are: Krystalli Glyniadakis – whose work recently featured in Penguin’s Austerity Measures anthology of post-2008 Greek poetry; the renowned Albanian poet and founder of Poeteka festival and magazine, Arian Leka; Iliyan Lyubomirov – the young Bulgarian poet whose first book became the fastest-selling volume of poetry published in Bulgaria since 1989; the Serbian author Maria Kneževič – whose novel Ekaterina was published in translation by Istros Books in the UK; and Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani, who writes multi-lingual poems in Croatian, French and English. Other contributors include Alexander Shurbanov, Petar Tchouhov, Aksinia Mihaylova, Stevan Tontič, Neşe Yaşin, Ragip Sylaj, Dimana Ivanova, Darko Leshovski, Eli Krasniqi, Duta Dan Mircea, Marko Pogačar, Zvonko Karanovic and Claudiu Komartin.


Balkan Poetry Today came about when Tom Phillips was introduced to Richard Eccles of Red Hand Books – the independent publishing company which also publishes Turkish Poetry Today. Tom’s interest in SE European literature dates back to his first visit to the region in 2006. Since then, he has set up Culture Exchange Experiment (an informal network of writers and artists in SE Europe and the UK) and Colourful Star (an Anglo-Bulgarian online art/poetry project) and taken part in academic conferences and cultural exchange and translation projects in various parts of SE Europe. He has also written about the region for a number of publications and his translations of contemporary Bulgarian poetry have been published in both Modern Poetry in Translation and Raceme. His own poetry has been translated into Albanian and Bulgarian and Unknown Translations – a bilingual collection of poems he originally wrote in Bulgarian – was published in Sofia by Scalino in 2016.

“For me, one of the most interesting things about this whole project is that people have got very excited about being able to read contemporary poetry from a region which has only sporadically figured on the literary radar in the English-speaking world,” says Tom. “It’ll be no surprise, of course, to learn that I think they’re right to be. The poetry being written in SE Europe at the moment is hugely diverse and I hope that the poems I’ve chosen reflect that – as well as showcasing the extraordinary voices that I have encountered over the course of the last few years.”

Balkan Poetry Today is available in a limited edition print version via the Red Hand Books website:
An e-book version will be available soon.

Review copies, interviews with the editor and contributing poets are available on request.

For further info contact Tom Philips at