Poetry. HOW GOD PUNISHES:Gives youthe small prize. Mercifully you never learnof the big one.It is altogether fitting that these lines begin Katerina Stoykova's poetic meditation, for in 2014 the Bulgarian version of HOW GOD PUNISHES (published by ICU) won the Ivan Nikolov National Poetry Award, presented annually by the Bulgarian publishing house Zhanet 45 and recognized as that nation's premier poetry prize. So in the end she did receive a "small prize" indeed! But it is her readers who are treated to the "big one" in the form of the insights shared in these pages. And now at last comes this version for English-speaking readers, prepared by the author, who is equally at home in both languages and divides her time between her native Bulgaria and her adopted Kentucky.It is, in the author's words, a "self ironic" work, "a book about truth-telling, regret and ego," that walks the reader through several stages of personal development across its seven parts and epilogue. Along the way there is humor, of the kind that catches in the throat and the heart, along with hard-learned wisdom, and most of all deep and loving humaneness. The "God" that administers these "punishments" is not off in some distant celestial realm, but present in the process of living day by day, of trying and failing and trying again, perfecting us for all our imperfections. In this, there is surely grace.
Katerina Stoykova is the author of poetry books in English and Bulgarian, most recently The Porcupine of Mind (Broadstone Books, 2012, English) and How God Punishes (ICU, 2014, Bulgarian), which won the Ivan Nikolov National Poetry Prize. She is the editor and the translator of The Season of Delicate Hunger: Anthology of Contemporary Bulgarian Poetry (Accents Publishing, 2014). For six years she hosted the literary radio show Accents on WRFL 88.1FM in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2010, she launched the independent literary press Accents Publishing. Katerina co-wrote the independent feature film Proud Citizen, directed by Thom Southerland, and acted in the lead role.Author City: LEXINGTON, KY USA