(1904 - 1978)
Atanas Dalchev was born in Thessaloniki, today’s Greece. He went to the First High School for Boys in Sofia. In 1921, he made his literary debut with the poetic diptych “Zalezi” [Sunsets] published in the Far newspaper of the school. He graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Pedagogy from the University of Sofia (1927). He published his poems in Vestnik za zhenata and in the journal of Bulgarian Symbolists, Hyperion; in 1923, collaborating with Dimitar Panteleev and Georgi Karaivanov, he published a collection of poems entitled Most [Bridge]. He contributed to the Iztok and Strelets newspapers in 1926-1927. Dalchev himself was a member of the Strelets literary circle.

Dalchev’s collection of poems Prozorets [Window] (1926) got him an award from the Ministry of Education. He published Stihotvoreniya [Poems] (1928), Paris [Paris] (1930), Angelat na Chartres [The Angel of Chartres] (1943), and Stihotvoreniya [Poems] (1965). The long periods of no publications gained him the reputation of a restrained, “reticent”, and “laconic” poet. He penned the collection of poetic philosophical aphorisms and critical speculation which he called Fragmenti [Fragments] (1967). A multilinguist, he translated from Russian, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Dalchev won the Herder Prize of the University of Vienna (1972), he was given the title of a “Exemplary Activist of Culture” (1974), and his contribution to the promotion of Russian and Soviet culture earned him the “Badge of Honour” order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

A poet who wrote philosophical lyrics, Dalchev was among the authors that mapped out the tendencies in the development of Bulgarian poetry. Significant Bulgarian poets (among them Al. Gerov, Al. Vutimski, V. Petrov, Iv. Peychev, N. Kanchev, and K. Pavlov) maintain an active dialogue with Dalchev’s themes, imagery, philosophical notions, and poetic world in their works.

English translations of Atanas Dalchev’s poetry have been anthologised repeatedly, with poems rendered by J. Balaban, Peter Tempest, and Roy MacGregor-Hastie.


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