Interview of Agron Shele

by Vatsala Radhakeesoon

(Translated from Albanian language by Peter Tase and Irida Zusi)
Born in Albania but now settled in Belgium, Agron Shele is a novelist and poet who writes with remarkable astuteness, softness and sensitivity. He is the editor and administrator of Atunis Poetry website and keeps on working hard to promote the works of contemporary writers. Here goes an enriching dialogue with this eminent and dynamic author of our time.


Vatsala Radhakeesoon: Agron Shele , welcome to Setu!

Please tell us about your earlier life, background and actual life?
Vatsala Radhakeesoon
Agron Shele : As a child  I was passionate about  fiction literature and whenever I read books I was  often  carried in  a magical unique world .  I kept reading everything that I had access to and later on I recognized   the works that would further shape me.  I dreamed of becoming a writer and the publication of my first novel   brought much surprise and joy to me.  This further encouraged me to keep writing and strengthen my literary style among hermetic framework, surrealism in poetry and the fast translation of various narrative works.  As far as possible I try to create novels with the idea of captivating the readers all throughout the plot, bring an unexpected conclusion or leave it as an open one upon which the readers can ponder.   I would never conceive the beauty of this world without art and true taste of literature.


V.R : What/who have been the propelling forces in making you become a writer?

A.S : I have  been influenced by both  local and   foreign literature.  My country has a   rich tradition in literature influenced by cultures and mythologies that date back to ancient times. It also has oriental influences and western traditions that are embodied on each master piece. The Albanian writers such as Ismail Kadare, Diana Çuli and Petro Marko have left many deep roots on my personal formation as a writer. I have been much impressed by the versatility and musicality of their powerful words or poetry. Among the foreign authors, works by Baudelaire, Stephan Zweig, Theodor Dreiser and Erik Segal have been my guides.


V.R: How does the writing process go for you, from the initial inspiration stage to the final crafting of a poem or novel?

A.S : To write a poem, I  just need the inspiration of a moment.  This is followed by the creation of the image, the selection of words, their figuration, the symbolism used and the message transmitted extended in space and time.
Prose- writing is completely different. The novel, by its own nature as a literary genre and building structure gives the opportunity to create the right space for a much wider expression, deeper, more colorful, more editorial, and as such, it conveys messages and sets ideas to bring models of human nature.  Firstly I choose the themes. Then, the plot, character creation and the right setting follow.

V.R: Are there particular themes that you enjoy bringing forth in your literary works?
A.S : Yes of course. My main themes in prose writings are related to the youth’s world.   In my poetry, the themes are derived from Greek and Roman mythology   and the   contemporary issues.


V.R : Who are your favourite novelists/poets and how have they impacted on your poetry and prose- writing?
A.S : I travel through poetry and prose and those who inspire me the most are those who emphasize on life, its concepts and illusions, its magic and mysticism  but also the natural elements, the color of seasons, the beauty of a blossoming flower of spring, or the feeling that is shared through the fall of a leaf in autumn and  dawn fading away or a rebirth of a sun in the morning.  These traces become so deep so that symbolized through the human nature are like the body and soul. They impose upon me a rare emotion but also a creative muse for my art.   Those authors that are always filled with magic for me and that I read frequently are:   Charles Baudelaire, T. S. Elliot, Stefan Zweig and Dan Brown.

V.R : Being the editor of Atunis, you are constantly in touch with poets all around the globe on a daily basis. What is the actual trend of writing prevailing in contemporary literature as far as themes, styles and literary moods are concerned? Do you think there is a specific literary movement emerging or ongoing nowadays?
A.S : I think that poets have a strong foundation of the cultures that they represent and they are the products of the cultures of their countries all the way to reaching the highest point of their artistic levels and later on when the borders of their work reach higher levels they become universal writers. So it includes a greater unification with an international cultural value and with remnants that serve to decipher the time and after time of diversity in a different art of a tradition that is as new and intriguing for all readers.


V.R : Based on your observation and knowledge of the literary world, how has the role of the writer changed in the 21 st century?
A.S : The magic of the word is the best articulation of a synthesis and symbiotic memory for the 21 st century and when words are raised into art the expressed power touches on the apex with a new high level.  Literature with hits magical touch and its mysticism has always attracted many turbulent souls, souls that are reborn over the flirting of creational beauty, the beauty of life, natural beauty and therefore reflect the aspirations, values and the purest thoughts on humanity.
Such a high level of human vitality where the word is transformed into a myth in the production of existence genius is deciphering and shaping endlessly our civilization.


V.R : What advice would you give to emerging and young authors/poets?

A.S : I think that young talents after all should first read the authors who are closest to their literary and aesthetic inspiration, experiment them until they create a particular style and with the genuine gift and the work done they will surely create a sustainable and promising profile for their own future.


V.R: As an experienced author, what message would you like to give to the world?

A.S : The selection of art is an intellectual responsibility. It also has a mission that must guide the independent and coherent opinion to build peace and harmony among people, to raise other rainbows among the skies of societies which represent   colors of hope.  I believe we must keep on building a society that is more liberalized, more open where each one could find his /her space.


V.R : We sum up this interesting conversation with an extract of your latest novel and  a poem.

Prologue

For many days dense clouds surrounded the Dajti Mountain. Autumn… The rains were on the verge of the beginning of their season. I do not know why I was staying at that small and solitary cafeteria near Lana, where, except the faint environment, one could see nothing else. The first drops breathed relieved, when their long feet touched the pavement that appeared in full vagueness, from the broad background of the black glass, messy lineaments of the multitude of the droplets of water, which spread rapidly. Under the feet of the poplar, which exuberated toward the sky, was created a characteristic grey-dark carpet, generated by the mixture of the leaves with the dirty water. The twilight that came earlier, added the flux of multicolored lights of the cars in the main road “Unaza” of the capital. I looked beyond the glass, with my usual coffee “espresso” in front of me, without any objective (aimless), as the environment itself that surrounded me and I did not notice a girl staying in front of my table. I did not understand anything at that moment; moreover, I was covered by an unusual feeling of bewilderment.
-        May I stay with you for a while? – She said, and looked with an extremely suffering look.
I said nothing. Still I could not trust my eyes, when the waiter, a boy with small eyes, full of vitality, took her by the arm and spoke to her:
-        Please, Adriane! Do not disturb the clients. You can sit at your table, beside the counter.   
She followed the rhythm of his steps, whilst the head turned back seemed like asking for help.
-        Why do you treat her that way? – I said to the waiter.
- Adriane is sick. This way she behaves with all. Sits at their table and talks nonsense.
- Let her alone, - I could say to him and, a feeling of sympathy surrounded me for that rare beauty that appeared in front of my eyes.
- As you wish, but, do not complain to me afterwards! - He said and went to the counter.   

She did not wait longer. She threw a glance anxiously; afterwards she sat on the chair in front of me. Shadows of suspicion still had not disappeared. The multitude of the questions, that why was I staying still there and, worse than that, with such a person, dispersed all my being.
      -   You look a good person. The others hate me and they turn me out always.
-   You should not think ill of yourself! - I said to her mostly to pacify her.
-   You do not know me, but I deserve the greatest punishment of this world! – And tears rolled down her face.
-   Drink something hot, it does you good! – I showed my care and pointed at the counter.  
The waiter brought tea, while she, with trembling hands, pressed the cup. So fragile a creature, so sweet, did not deserve this destiny, which had thrown her beyond the life and dragged her in the endless roads. The regular lines of the body, the round and white face, the curly hair over the shoulders, still showed the luminous look of the past. 
She stood quiet, subdued, the same as that statue in the course of construction, which waits what shape it will be given. She cast any skeptical look and shriveled within the endless anxiety. Her lips trembled, wanting to express something untold, perhaps to kill the ill feeling accumulated from a time that I did not know. Stepped in the remnants of the life in the past, ruined by the fatal past, she suffered the sin she had done and slandered everywhere her lost self. 
- She was my best friend. God punished me for this, - and she put her hands over the wet hair.
 I handled her my handkerchief and with a rather friendly tone, I tried to somewhat pacify her, although, after each uttered phrase, broken , sometimes meaningless, expressed in the most dramatic way, I understood how life abandoned but never denied.

Agron Shele, Beyond the grey curtain
 


Autumn in Tirana
Autumn,
In Tirana that is lost in water creeks,
Through extended water drips in the windows of crystals,
In the abandoned benches from all this unrest
In the naked trees all the way to forgiveness.

Autumn
Even its returning tears of meditation instants,
Forgotten old romances in memory,
Returning painfully in the soft spirits
Yellow paper of my diary.

Autumn,
In Tirana of the earlier steps,
Of a bench that is always naked with green flowers,
Of the last glass dropped through ridges
Pieces of lips, skies of love

Autumn
And longing for passed times,
For the deeming of light in the white soul,
For the life thrown away through angles of reflections,
For the abandoned leaves from all this demise.

Autumn
And traces in every heart beat
For her…for someone…for love,
Of after times that are knocked in so much noise
…and of autumn e melancholic pentagram.

 
Agron Shele
(Translated by Peter Tase)

V.R: Thank you very much Agron Shele for joining us on Setu!

A.S: You are welcome! 


Biography: Agron Shele
Agron Shele was born in 7 October 1972 in the Village of Leskaj, city of Permet, Albania.  He is the author of the following literary works: “The Steps of Clara” (Novel), “Beyond a grey curtain” (Novel), “Wrong Image” (Novel) , “Innocent Passage” (Poetry) and “Ese-I”. He is also the coordinator of International Anthologies: “Open Lane- 1,” “Pegasiada , Open Lane- 2 and ATUNIS magazine.  He is a member of the Albanian Association of Writers, the World Writers Association, in Ohio, United States, Poetas del Mundo, WPS, Unione world Poetry and the President of the International Poetical Galaxy “Atunis”. His works have been published in many newspapers, national and international magazines as well as published in many global anthologies: Almanac 2008, World Poetry Yearbook 2009, 2013, 2015, The Second Genesis -2013, Kibatek 2015-Italy Keleno- Greece. He currently lives in Belgium and continues to dedicate his time and efforts in publishing literary works with universal values.

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