Luan Rama, born in Tirana in 1952, is a notable Albanian intellectual, filmmaker, editor, and writer. Graduating from Tirana University with a major in journalism from the Faculty of Political and Juridical Sciences, he further specialized in film making and communication at Paris VII “Denis Diderot” University. With a career spanning over 14 years, he has excelled as a screenwriter for numerous award-winning feature films, documentaries, and cartoons produced by Albanian cinematic studios.
A prolific author, Rama has penned 60 books encompassing novels, stories, and historical works. Some of his notable literary contributions include titles like “The Literary Paris,” “Last Trip of Arthur Rimbaud,” “The Autumn of Alberto Saviani,” and “Francois Mitterand — Gods Die Also.” Additionally, he has published two volumes of poetry in French, namely “Territories of the Soul” and “Cover Me with a Piece of Sky” (“Territoires de l’ame,” “Couvrez-moi avec un morceau de ciel”), along with “Porto Palermo.”
Beyond his literary pursuits, Luan Rama has distinguished himself as a diplomat, serving as an ambassador from 1992 to 2005 in Paris, Lisbon, and Monaco. He represented Albania as a cultural diplomat at UNESCO and the International Organization of La Francophonie between 1997 and 2003.
In recognition of his outstanding service to his country and excellence in writing, Luan Rama has received numerous awards and honors. Notable accolades include the 1986 “Naim Frashéri” medal, bestowed by the President of the Republic of Albania, the 2002 “Grand Officier” of the “Ordre national du Mérite” (Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit) presented by French President Jacques Chirac, the 2001 “European Award” for “The Long Chemin Sous le Tunnel de Platon,” awarded by the Association of French Language Writers in Paris, and the 2014 “Personality of La Francophonie” recognized by the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Presently residing in Paris, Luan Rama shares his expertise by lecturing in geopolitics at the Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilization (Institut des Langues et Civilisation Orientales).
POETS DIE LIKE BIRDS
Arben Shehi blew out his candle last night…
Poets fall like sparrows,
Struck by lightning,
Too close to the storm and the sun.
Poets are the wounded heart of game birds:
That’s why they are the first to plummet
Towards an endless death
In a life of twilight.
Poets take the first blow:
They have embodied the fires and heavenly voices
And so by Olympus are condemned.
They die before their time
From the life-long labour
Of sowing love throughout their days.
From a lover’s loss and yearning tears
They stop hearts and break one’s breath
When in their death, they drop.
The poet’s searing gaze is brimmed with tears…
ELEGY FOR AEGEAN SEA DOLLS
For dolls, an elegy has never been written,
an elegy mourning their dreams,
but today on the Aegean coast,
an elegy alone too little seems to be,
for their faint eyes in the great calamity
burned and thrown by thunderstorms and lightning.
For the silent mouths of children left at sea
fleeing the war and the horror of the world,
there is nothing but their small shoes left,
the scarves of the lost mothers who knows where
and these nameless dolls without hands and feet,
without their adorned shirts
and eyes that no longer can speak of anything
from their hell journey,
dolls washed out on the Aegean coast…
For dolls, elegies have never been written says the foamy wave,
never, repeats the wind that hits the rocks,
the wind that weeps with its Homeric tears.
This is the elegy of shoes that will not walk tomorrow,
the elegy of children who can no longer dream,
the elegy of their extinguished eyes in the world of bullet-like wonders
in the Sea of the Dead Humanism…
YOU, MY SACRED PSALM
A little church you wanted for a long time
a bell that spreads the word of love
whereas I, I looked for a single psalm
hummed in the old songs of the late Solomon .
But all the psalms were haunted
in the whirlwind and sadness of time
mouth to mouth
bed to bed
breath to breath
in ruined synagogues and churches
that did not survive.
Then I asked for my very own
the haunted psalm, the humble, and the grey
the psalm of the lips awakening the dead and the dawn
that fill the small bird chests and homes
the psalm that lightly steps on the grass
with green eyes,
with a crushed pomegranate dripping juice
the psalm for a lonely church erected
beside a stone-made altar
and a forgotten cult wall
where the monks have left a million words of prayer
under the celestial dome
with gods and deities falling in love.
For a church, you asked
I found the purple psalm
at the palimpsest of all time
Laudamus the soul that has honored the hands
and holds me by his spirit
today is the glorified day
full of Mozart arches
cello and oboe
that elevate the world and our bodies
Praised, my holy psalm!
TRANSLATED FROM THE ALBANIAN BY MIRANDA SHEHU-XHILAGA