“Only with a leaf
can I talk of the forest,”
― Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry
A pretty couplet for fall, suitable for embroidery. But a search on VUFind quickly reveals a more lamentable provenance of these lines composed by Albanian poet Visar Zhiti. Composed-not written, as much of the collection from which this line was taken is from the time of Zhiti’s imprisonment for writing poetry deemed as anti-Communist propaganda during the repressive Hoxha regime (1941-1985). While incarcerated, he had no access to writing materials, yet still composed poetry as a way to keep his sanity. He memorized over a hundred poems over ten years, finally transcribing them upon his release. A volume of Zhiti’s work is entitled “The Condemned Apple,” and is available via E-ZBorrow and interlibrary loan.
Segel, H. (2012). Visar Zhiti: (b. 1952). In The Walls Behind the Curtain: East European Prison Literature, 1945–1990 (pp. 64-69). Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt7zwb06.12
Photo by Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing at Falvey.
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