Fragments of Work (SI: Delci dela, 2014, D: Werkstückchen, 2019) is the fourth poetry book by Jure Jakob, a prominent Slovene poet. Jakob entered the Slovene literary scene with a highly resonant poetry debut, Three Stations (Tri postaje, 2003), which won the Golden Bird Award for an exceptional cultural achievement. Jakob’s debut laid down the guidelines for his poetics, typically marked by long free verse lines and a reflective idiom which segues at times into a well-nigh meditative rhythm. The author is mainly interested in existential and poetic issues, but what leaves a unique stamp on his poetry is the peculiar detachment of his speaker. Jakob’s poetry is permeated by an awareness that words and names never call into being what they evoke: without a solid base in the world, they merely circle round. That is what maintains the world’s mystery and the alienation of Jakob’s speaker despite his awareness that he is part of a larger whole, as neatly suggested by the title Fragments of Work. What is further reflected in the title is the concept of work, prominent in his poetic oeuvre. Unsurprisingly, the flap of the original book displays the lines: ‘I like to work / at the needful.’ Those lines are brief and compact, a feature not found in his earlier collections (his debut was followed by Wakefulness – Budnost, 2006, and Abandoned Places – Zapuščeni kraji, 2010). And while this feature is most pronounced in the Fragments of Work cycle, which gave its name to the entire collection, the verse in Jakob’s latest book as a whole may be described as somewhat terser and still more laden with meaning.
Additional sample translation of a short poetry selection in English
Original title: Delci dela
Edited by: Tina Kozin
Afterword: Aljaž Krivec
Afterward translation: Ann Catrin Bolton
Price: 17,00 EUR
Nature and originality are central themes in Jure Jakob’s collection. Without big words, but with genuine warmth, the poems “March,” “Sestina,” and “I Drive Fortune around with Me in a Wheelbarrow” exude the love of a partner, maternal love, and fatherly – all framed within the simplicity of everyday life. Perhaps precisely in this day and age it is especially important to have somebody remind us, stop us, show us all the nothingness and greatness of being. Who would know that better than poets? Although the poetic view is only one of many possible views, it is often the only true approximation to truth, mystery, magic and love.
Nada Breznik, from the programme From the Book Market (Radio Slovenia, ARS)
In the manner you’ve grown accustomed to in his work, these poems by Jure Jakob are replete with impressions of nature, under the interweaving of words, while harbouring the inner impression of the subject – the observer […]. As an observer, he ever so subtly explores the fundamental questions of uncertainty, fears. This is characterized by clear, full verses that represent an in-depth insight into the world and its truths and by an atmosphere that represents and antithesis of the present and emerges from the linguistic images of the calmness of the times and the human gaze. […] It is the tranquillity of time, the question hidden within village images, the primary functioning of the subject, as portrayed by Jakob, in comparison with the subject that is characteristic of most contemporary poetry, and is a major welcome feature of Jacob’s creation. It is the parts of this work that draw one into themselves that take over, and the atmosphere continues deep into the reader.
Aljaž Koprivnikar, LUD Literatura