Opera Buffa is Tomaž Šalamun’s last testament. It is a book rooted in torn landscapes of Central Europe and the Mediterranean. Crafted from place and power, these poems are fragments of collective memory. “There are hands, inside. Concordance rises / There are no foodstuffs. There’s no branch.” These are poems that examine what is tender and terrible in the world, ranging from the extrajudicial civil massacres of partisans during and after the Second World War, to the prejudicial violence carried out in twenty-first-century Europe against people forced to migrate from the Middle East, North Africa, and India. Opera Buffa witnesses anarchical plutocracy, climate catastrophe, and so much more. “Do you feel the footsteps?/ Do you feel the approach?” This is Opera Buffa.
"This volume is gracefully unified by its commitment to enjambment as a way of rendering familiar narratives suddenly and wonderfully strange. As the book unfolds, the work is increasingly inhabited by silence, which amplifies the surreal and often disconcerting moments in each intricately imagined dreamscape. Šalamun provocatively places the line in tension with the sentence, allowing suspense to accumulate and undermining expectations of narrative resolution. Šalamun’s poems are as subversive in their craft as they are in their thinking, and this translation preserves that originality of thought and expression."—Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Druids by Tomaž Šalamun
"...Tomazˇ Šalamun, the avant-garde Slovenian poet who called the poems in this book 'the most possessed and insane he had written,' was also using the phrase 'opera buffa' to goof on 'opera buff.' That’s the spirit of this book, consisting of mostly (but for three short poems) Šalamunian sonnets—seven couplets, with short, usually enjambed lines. This is the fourth book of Šalamun poetry published by Black Ocean (Andes, Justice, and Druids), and while a posthumous publication, it displays Šalamun at his most playful—and that’s saying something."—John Bradley, rain taxi