Tomaž Šalamun was born in 1941 in Zagreb, but grew up in Koper, a coastal town in Slovenia south of Trieste. In 1966 he graduated in Art History from Ljubljana University. Šalamun, who won the Prešeren Prize in 2000, was the leading figure of the Slovenian poetic avant-garde in the 1960s and in the 1970s. In early 1970s he spent two years at Iowa on the International Writing Programme, and he has lived on and off in the USA since then. In 1996 he became Slovenian Cultural Attaché in New York. He has published 45 volumes of poetry in Slovenian. His work has also been translated into twenty different languages, numbering over 80 volumes, and he has been included in many anthologies. He was a former Fulbright Fellow at the Columbia University in New York and visiting professor at the Universities of Alabama, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Richmond and Texas (The Michener Center for Writers in Austin). Šalamun has also been in residence at DAAD Berlin, Bogliasco, Cité des Arts Paris, Civitella Ranieri, Yaddo and MacDowell.
“And here, I think, is a poetics not of rebellion but of quest. Šalamun’s tradition has been the disruptive, visionary side of European experimental art, Rimbaud, Lautreamont, the German expressionists, the French surrealists, the Russian futurists, the tradition in which poetry is an instrument for glimpsing a supreme reality, and for which all art is, finally, the scattered bits and pieces of that larger vision.
This accounts for Šalamun’s eclecticism, for the sense of improvisation in his poems, the surrealist lists, the New York School fast jottings of what’s going on at the moment, the disjunctions, and sense of play. They are tactics to set the centrifuge spinning, to start thedervish dance, in which some breakthrough might occur.”
Robert Hass in Poetry International Web