Something you should know about us at Limping Devil Press, dear reader: we love Rainer Maria Rilke. We adore him. We heard about Srečko Kosovel – the Slovenian Rilke, as he is described, so naturally, we had to get to know him.
Srečko Kosovel (1904-1926) was born in Trieste, at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but grew up in a desolate, rocky region of Slovenia called Karst. Karst is 8 miles from the Duino castle where Rilke wrote the Duino Elegies. Although both poets lived and worked in close proximity of one another, Kosovel and Rilke did not know each other.
Rilke and Kosovel died the same year. Kosovel was 22 at the time of his death. In his short lifetime he wrote over 1000 poems. Kosovel’s poetry manages to defy categorization and his work is not directly linked to any movement.
Srečko Kosovel experimented with several literary movements. His work has been associated with Dadaism, Surrealism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Futurism. It would seem the young poet was searching for the right literary current to drink from, a form that could serve as his foundation and structure for his voice, but in his search he was quickly building a reputation. Although he is not directly associated with any one particular period, Kosovel is known as an early Modernist and celebrated as one of Slovenia’s best known literary figures. Quite an accomplishment for a young poet.
Kosovel died at the age of 22 from Meningitis. He was taking a new direction in his work; embarking on a new beginning as his short life was coming to an end. With the experience of starting a literary review during college, Kosovel looked toward the creation of a Constructionist magazine. Like Rilke, who worked for and wrote about Rodin, Kosovel bonded with an artist. Avant-garde painter Avgust Černigoj and Srečko Kosovel disagreed over the title of their publication. Černigoj liked Konstruktor while Kosvel preferred KONS. KONS paired nicely with his Constructionist poems he began to write.
Kosovel began to adopt the Constructionist style. Before completely moving away from the experiments of his earlier days, he prepared a manuscript called the “Golden Boat”. He called his Constructionist work konsi – short for konstrukcije (constructions). He intended to publish his collection under the same name, Konsi. His acceptance of the position of program director at a new magazine, Mladina, delayed this publication. His maintained his post at the magazine until his death in 1926. Konsi went unpublished until 1967. Konsi was published as Integrali by a Slovenian literary historian.
Fortunately, Srečko Kosovel’s is not completely lost. We have been enjoying his work tremendously and hope that he becomes more widely read. Kosovel pays homage to movements of inquiry. He examines movements attuned to social change, psychology, and the belief in art and utilizes these currents as inroads to express his world view from a small town in Slovenia. For this, we thank him.
Who would you like others to read or know about?