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Sisyphus and I

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This collection of rebellious poems are a reflection of Macedonian poet Ilja Kostovski’s travels across the United States, as well as his interpretations of God’s purpose for man. Written over the course of a decade from the late 1970s, this work arose out of Kostovski’s immersion in the 1978 San Francisco poetry scene and his experience of living in the Shaw district of  Washington, DC during the 1980s .


Ilja Kostovski was born in 1933.  He was a Macedonian refugee from the Greek Civil War. As an illiterate 14 year old child he fled northern Greece to Czechoslovakia where at the age of 27 he received a PhD in Russian literature at Charles University in Prague.  Throughout his tenure he taught at universities in Prague, Potsdam, Heidelberg. He received invitations to teach at the University of Maryland and the College of William and Mary. He was one of the visiting poets of the 1977 International Poetry Festival in San Francisco where he he formed a life long friendship with San Francisco’s Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman and City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlingetti. He died in Washington DC in 2017.



Jack Hirschman is a San Francisco poet, translator, and editor. His powerfully eloquent voice set the tone for political poetry in this country many years ago. Since leaving a teaching career in the ’60s, Hirschman has taken the free exchange of poetry and politics into the streets where he is, in the words of poet Luke Breit, “America’s most important living poet.” He is the author of numerous books of poetry, plus some 45 translations from a half a dozen languages, as well as the editor of anthologies and journals. Among his many volumes of poetry are Endless ThresholdThe Xibalba Arcane, and Lyripol. 


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