November 11, 2013


Cetinje: President of Montenegro Presents Njegoš Award
The President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović, solemnly presented the Njegoš Award to Mr. Tomaž Šalamun.

The solemn presentation of the Njegoš Award took place tonight in the Government House in Cetinje.

The following is the text of the speech of the President.

Mr. Šalamun,
Speaker of the Parliament, Ministers,
High dignitaries and Esteemed Guests,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Njegoš Award, a prestigious recognition of regional literary contemporariness, a mirror of literary work, has supranational significance which exceeds the established linguistic determinants, confirming general literary values. This award is embodiment of Njegoš mission on South Slavic coexistence with strong regional intercultural connections. It is awarded every two years to the author of works published in the Montenegrin, Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Croatian, Bosnian, Bulgarian and Albanian languages. Naturally, this award is rightly considered the regional literary Nobel. Therefore, all the greats have the honor to have their names permanently joined the society, in which are Lalić, Krleža, Selimović, Davičo, Pekić, Kovač…

Ladies and gentlemen,

The literary work of Petar II Petrović is the torch that lights for almost two centuries amongst the European and world greats. By its artistic attainments, his work belongs to the greatest literary achievements. It is even more valuable because it comes from the small Balkan nation. Njegoš was right: “The nest of genius is built only among greater nations…” But he proved by his own life and works that the nest of the great man could be built even among smaller nations.

Immortal work of Njegoš contains a synthesis of our customary and moral tradition derived from the depths of the being of Montenegro, linguistic and thoughtful forms of our mentality as well as philosophical conception of principal issues of metaphysics and the secret of existence. Therefore, the significance that Njegoš has for our identity and culture is the same that Homer had for the Ancient world, Milton for the English or Goethe in German literature.

The Njegoš Petrović Dynasty, over a long time period, made concord with Montenegro, transforming it from tribal community in an internationally recognized and prominent state. Njegoš’s ideas of creating ethical ideals of justice and freedom became role model for liberation aspirations of Montenegro in establishing modern European state. Thus, the moral value of St. Peter of Cetinje is embedded in the foundation of Montenegro as on its top the poetic word of Rade Tomov glowed with perfection.

And Lovćen became our spiritual Olympus, the measure of our spirituality and culture. On marking the bicentennial of the birth of the greatest of the greats of Montenegro, and on the occasion of the awards ceremony, which bears his name, we are committed to pay him our eternal respect.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just due to this great marking, the jury had particularly delicate task and responsibility. The Njegoš award, in the selection of outstanding greatness of literature, is a confirmation that, only by creating works of lasting value, it can be achieved the highest peak of artistic expression that overcome all barriers amongst nations and states. I am particularly glad because this year’s award goes to Tomaž Šalamun, one of the most prominent Slovenian and European poets and one of the greats of the European literary Avant-garde. Thus, the poetry and a poet that is Njegoš’s “small creator the closest to the divinity“ rightfully this year, for spiritual aspirations, got their laureate. Laureate, whose poetry is translated in even twenty-one languages. The poet, who deserved the highest respect on the European and American soil.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The poetic opus of Tomaž Šalamun with his uniqueness strongly transcends the boundaries of the Slavic literature. His penetrating poetic voice had, for different generations, aesthetic value that seizes the attention; originality of linguistic compounds and poetic forms – metaphor and symbol, eccentrically, lucidly and cynically at the same time. Exactly, as in the songs David and the Letter from the award-winning book of poetry “Kdaj”.

The Šalamun’s poetic imagination in a specific way, creates a world by distinctive poetic saying, and by wordplay, makes a mix of culturological symbols and everyday experience, philosophy and religion to transform the poet’s authentic experience of the world into poetry. Thus the poetry strongly absorbs poetic awareness, and a poet himself is merged with a strong influence of verses as a symbol.

His poetic form is built on the conception that the poets have ability of visionary and a prophet. To Šalamun, the poetry in the depths of its creativity is aimed at creating poetic symbols – ambiguous, hermetic and self-sufficient. His dynamic, poetic being introduces the fragments of reality, literary and out of literary associations, biblical themes and a great questioning of the meaning of life.

On the other hand, Šalamun’s coherent poetic voice in modern poetry aims to, without pathos, by melodiousness and rhythm of verse, expose the social reality and in a way be engaged poetry. This is why the Šalamun’s poetry made a deep incision in the South Slavic literature both for an extraordinary and powerful vocation and honesty in revealing the truth; it became a contribution to the Central European poetic value. The lasting inspiration for many young poets.

In accordance with the modern theory of reception and modern science on literature, where the main place is attributed to the reader, Šolomon’s poetic work in its artistic intensity has profound effect precisely because it is also a quest for meaning and truth. Poetry is, thus, an expression of the human – the most human in us, a visible sign of the truth which has been transformed in poetic world of beauty.

Mr. Šalamun,

I believe that today and tomorrow will be envious of you for joining the society as Njegoš’s Award laureate. As a poet with aesthetic without limits and with a poetry out of literary forms, with timeless message of Njegoš’s torch. In creation of poetic world, the world out of our everyday – world of poetry.

Ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate Tomaž Šalamun sincerely and friendly, jury on the selection and the Montenegrin and South Slavic public on a new Laureate of Njegoš’s award.


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