Alisa Velaj

Alisa Velaj

Alisa Velaj was born in Albania, in 1982. She holds a Ph.D. in Albanian Language and Literature, which she has been teaching as subjects at university level, while writing poetry, prose, essays, articles, and research studies. Velaj was shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-PressPoetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her work has been published inover 100 international online forums, printed magazines and anthologies across many countries (USA, UK, Sweden, Australia, Israel, India). Alisa earned an Artist-in-Residence Scholarship in February 2019 and attended the AIR Litteratur Västra Götaland Program in Villa Martinson, Jonsered, Sweden. In 2020, she won The National Prize in Poetry, awarded by the Albanian Ministry of Culture.


I was told that ghosts go insane at night,
getting drunk and mingling in Dionysian rites…
Among them enters Macbeth with a somnolent corpse,
while ghosts dance and chant around him
in the sweetest voices on earth.
In the morning, Orpheus, totally speechless,
can’t even recall who stole his voice…

© Translation from Albanian: ARBEN P. LATIFI


You, too, wait for me when fall arrives.
Winter, afterwards, is how you treat it:
it may numb your limbs to the bone,
same as it may be that uninvited guest,
who knocks on the door one snowstormy night,
and is seated by the hearth, where firewood is cracking,
while he starts pulling out oven-hot stories,
about true or made-up stuff,
leaving the curious kids dumbstruck.

Don’t wait for fall to come to your doorstep.
Seasons have their own events,
same as people do.
It may happen that it shows by surprise,
it may flash by your home,
while in a hurry to elsewhere.

It might have come forth from inside your being,
while you were busy watering the lilies,
white like the steamy breath in a winter day.

Do you now see, Etna, how seasons communicate?

© Translation from Albanian: ARBEN P. LATIFI


Ancient humans consecrated the mountains
with horizons and light,
without ever abandoning the mountains.
Nowadays, we consecrate a sea of light
light in the sea
and sea in the light…

We are dwarfed agape in front of horizons,
now boundless more than ever,
and feel like mightier gods than our forefathers
in their grand amazement
with infant horizons…

© Translation from Albanian: ARBEN P. LATIFI

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Published with the permission of Alisa Velaj