Obituary: Fatos Arapi, one of Albania’s greatest modern poets, passes away

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 12, 2018 11:52


I take with me

burnings of sunsets in serene dusks,

silhouettes of cypresses in brown settings

of olives.

And the shadow blocks of Cike,

which at nights they dangle

onto star constellations downwards Jon.


Wherever I go

I am a panorama piece from my country.’

This poem is titled ‘Farewell’ by Albanian writer Fatos Arapi. It is perhaps his most relevant composition currently, as the night of October 10 Fator Arapi, the greatest modern Albanian poet, bid us farewell.

Fatos Arapi is one of the most renowned Albanian writers, especially in the poetry genre. He left behind a rich composition, not only in artistic literature, but also in literary criticism and research.

The son of an intellectual, Fatos Arapi was born in 1929 in Vlore, where he graduated high school. He later studied at the Sofia University, Bulgaria, at the Mathematics and Economics Faculty, and returned to his home country to build his life and career.

His father, Tol Stavre Arapi, also published a 20 page poem in 1914 titled ‘The Viper’ and a journalistic piece, ‘That Albanian to make it,’ which only saw the light of publication in 1996. It seems that the writer followed his footsteps into intellectualism.

Fatos Arapi worked for many years as a professor at the History and Philology Faculty of the University of Tirana, and as a journalist. He has won many awards for his poetic composition and in 2008 he became the first Albanian poet to win the ‘Golden Crown’ award.

Arapi’s poetry goes beyond the Albanian dimension, most gracefully reaching that of an European level. Since the 1960s, he became a remarkable and trend-setting master for modern Albanian poetry and, deservingly, acquired his own, irrefutable position in the lines of Albanian literary geniuses.  

In also having written a research analysis titled ‘Old Albanian Songs’, he was, undeservingly, not considered an academic, even though the book is a serious study compilation of the poetic heritage of Northern Epos.

Nevertheless, Fatos Arapi together with Ismail Kadare and Dritero Agolli managed to lead Albanian poetry to modernity, changing the concepts dominating the genre for the first time since Migjeni. This shift happened through the inner stilistic and metaphorical figurative system, which started exploring the dimensions beyond the classic Albanian poetry.

Fatos Arapi is the poet of deep meditative cognitions. He deliberately brought new innovations in the Albanian poetry. Through his life, he published less compared to Kadare and Agolli – however, he dedicated his artistry and talent to poetry in itself. He appeared more bashful then the other two writers, but in himself just as ambitious.

Even though he didn’t enjoy an extensively positive literary criticism, the wise reader, naively and carefully appreciating literature will be able to distinguish Arapi’s modern poetry as unique, authentic, youthful and jovial.

In this context, Arapi seems to have been born much later than Kadare and Agolli, although he was older. This attribute of youth in Arapi’s poetry might be the most strange, and yet the best characteristic of his work. He appeared inclined to modernity and the contemporaneous structure of poetry since the beginning. He tried to apply it in emancipating Albanian poetry and influenced the meaning of qualitative poetic relations, which critics often seemed to fail grasp.

His influence and literary relevance are indisputable. He stood out and he was clear, with all his twists and hermetic metaphors. He was about prospects and worries, and he was himself because he always spoke for himself – not as an individual, but as a unity of knowledge, impressions and fantasies.

Arapi reflects an era in his own way, the bloody epos being a great genesis, including disappointments, painting the naval scenery with words, and regrets not being next to his mother on her deathbed. He wrote about pain and societal ambiguity, although being part of a society that did not tolerate any ambiguity at all. Arapi should not be mixed with the system he was living in – his poetry stands above it.

Life is a railway station of partings and meetings.

We are constant travellers,

Holding in our hands our inseparable baggage,

A little suitcase

Of struggles, onslaughts and memories.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 12, 2018 11:52