Aleš Mustar
C(o)urt Interpretations
Translated from the Slovenian by Manja Maksimovič
78 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1599713397

Upon reading a book such as this, we can state that this kind of poetry in its essence values revolt. In the case at hand, the personal and social rebellion has a solid base and does not float weightlessly in midair. Irony remains one of the key elements of C(o)urt Interpretations; Mustar uses it with no hesitation, and by intensifying it, achieves its opposite and eventually its annihilation. Irony, which often turns into self-irony, at times overcomes melancholic impulses; their edges are smoothed by an urge to smile. In a sense, the tone of some of Mustar’s poems can be compared to that of the comics in a daily paper: both involve the urgency to update an event, criticism, irony, and humor. Yet neither the former nor the latter comes equipped with an objective recipe to guarantee its quality; it can only be a result of the right combination and an adequate dose of all the constituents, which is something only the best achieve. This, along with the collection’s immediateness in terms of its contents, is why C(o)urt Interpretations raises dust on the shelves of modern Slovene poetry.

— Robert Simonišek

Aleš Mustar – C(o)urt Interpretations

C(o)urt Interpretations is the first full-length collection by one of Slovenia’s most provocative young poets, Aleš Mustar. In Mustar’s court, consumerism stands on trial alongside “post-post-modernism” and Dostoevsky. With his witty philosophical riffing on the trappings and evasions of contemporary society, Mustar sharply demonstrates what it means to poeticize with a gavel.

Aleš Mustar was born in 1968 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His poetry has been published in the most important Slovenian literary magazines, and has been translated into Czech, Serbian, Polish, Macedonian, English, and Romanian. He holds degrees in English and Pedagogy from the University of Ljubljana and a Ph.D. in Romanian literature from the University of Bucharest. Mustar has also written for the theater, and is a translator of Romanian and Macedonian literature.


How can I not feel tormented
when I – a middle-aged man – am forced to wait
for my verse to mature
while the world keeps turning into science fiction.
I’m so numb
that I can’t feel the mobile phone vibrating in my trouser pocket anymore.
The box, which at the push of a button
can also serve to entertain,
is vulturously broadcasting the funeral of the President of State.
Viewing figures go up when the camera zooms in on accident-charred bodies,
and the meter goes berserk
when the grieving faces of his wife and children appear on the TV screen.
In another country, an earthquake buries three thousand people.
The weight of casualties of war places them mere third.
The computer animation is scratching its head.
Even if we are saved from bird flu by vegetarianism,
from AIDS by sexual abstinence,
and from SARS by becoming homebodies,
we will not escape one-track-mindedness.
I receive an e-mail,
I hope it’s not virus-infected,
saying that the promised land
has just embargoed the import of literature from so-called non-democratic countries.
Should I start building my musculature in fitness centers?
Should I turn into Super, Action or Spider Man,
are you willing to become my Xena
so that together we can save the world?
Is this becoming to a poet?
How much virtual decency this indecent world requires!
I’m not sure whether I should give in,
climb the nearest hill
to watch the freshly fallen snow,
or change the channel instead,
that’s why today, my dearest,
I’m so goddamn depressed.