photo: Boyana Petrova

Peter Chukhov was born in 1961 in Sofia. Bachelor of Library Science and Master of Sociology at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ". 


He is the author of 15 books, the last of which is Enough Long (2019), as well as the bilingual (in Bulgarian and English) haiku and senra Safe Needles (2008; 2010). The book is also published in Ireland in Irish (Gaylik) and Bulgarian - Bioráin Dhúnta (OriginalWriting, Dublin, 2012).


He has been included in many anthologies in Bulgaria and abroad. Translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Czech, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Romanian, Turkish, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Irish. He writes haiku and related forms in English, published in many publications in the US, Canada, England and Japan. She translates from English and runs the page "Fly in the medicine cabinet" in the newspaper "Literary Newspaper" for haiku and related short forms.


He has won many awards, including the Grand Prix for SMS Poetry (2004), the Slave Award (2005), the First Gold Chain Award (2007), the Basho Museum Award in Japan (2007) ). He is the author and host of the Troubadour duels project, co-author (with M. Kolcheva) of the comic book series "Guvko and Mravko", which has been published for several years on the pages of "Trud" newspaper, writes music and lyrics, has played in many rock groups (" Subdibula, Tutaxi, Stanley), co-founder of the ethnographic rock band Gologan. He also plays in the rock band Kokarda and the poetry and alternative rock group LaText. Member of Bulgarian Writers Association, Haiku Club Sofia, Haiku Society of America, World Haiku Association and Musicautor.


Long enough is your last book, it's a storybook. In addition to the title, they are also marked as short stories. Contemporary literature is moving towards volume reduction. The great epic character of the beginning of the last century seems almost absent at the moment. The novels are highly fragmented, and the stories tend to be absolute brevity. What is this movement due to? 


There may be various reasons. However, I would like to address here the abundance of opportunities that characterize the times we live in. It tempts us to try to encompass as much as we can a wider range of diversity - both as living and as reading and writing. Which means that long works carry the risk of not being read or even preferred, and even not being recorded. Almost nothing around us presupposes the depth needed to write and read epic works, on the contrary - the cascades of information condition a continuous and total scattering. It seems like the epic plots remain for cinema, where we can devour War and Peace for a few hours, for example.

And what are the "other stories" in "Enough Long"?


These are several longer texts, one of which is full 24 pages - this is really unusual for me. The explanation is that a long time ago I participated in an event during which, imprisoned in a writer's restaurant under the Sofia Library (where the Literary Club of the Library is now), it took 24 hours to write a story with the same number of pages.


The artwork is significant for a book, often creating a perfect bridge between content and image. You mentioned to me that for each book, you think about the artist beforehand and pay special attention to the visual appearance of the book body. Tell us more about the design of "Enough Long", by Lyuba Halev?


I really like the seeming carelessness of her style, behind which, at least in my opinion, are the hidden abysses of the ineffable. Luba added that extra dimension that turns the collection of texts into a book and even into something beyond the book.

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What impresses you are the last two stories, which are referred to as "plays" and "narratives" by genre. The blurring of strict genre forms is known in the literature, but pure visual-terminological blending seems to be lacking. On the one hand is the "language game" and on the other the "genre hybridity". Tell us more about these "new" genres, mixing and different literary genres?


Generally speaking, these are texts that would like to be dramaturgical, but as if they did not manage to happen as such, so they remain for reading and not for a scene. But in the end, the directors have the word, not one or two prose ones, that even poetically, the lyrics came to life in the theater space.


The stories in the book describe, as if, everyday events, plots that we encounter every day, but beyond the visible content, and through it you manage to reach the invisible spaces of man, to his inner world. Through man in the world you construct the world of man. Is this the easier way to express / utter the metaphysical mental layers? 


The transcendence of a text is what attracts me - both as a reader and as an author. I think the world is a mystical place where through the clefts of the seemingly banal, the disturbing light of the unknown, the inexplicable, probably even the unknowable, invades. The combination of the convenience of clichéd daily life and the amorphous magic of the beyond (which, I suppose, is actually within us) unlocks powerful energy.

photo: Julian Zhiliev

In several stories, the character is Chesho Puhov. Tell us more about this "new author" in Bulgarian literature? Is Peter Chukhov's alter ego or a completely separate person?


There are actually two Chešopuhovtsi. One writes, posts, has a Facebook profile. The other is a literary hero of three stories that I have included in Enough Long. They were written a long time ago and in them Chesh Puhov looks different from his self-proclaimed image. Yes, they are both in some way my alter ego, by which I express my lesser traits, and thus possibly different traumatic contents of the unconscious.


In poetry you are also a fan of short forms, writing and haiku. Do you find your handwriting and denser expression in short forms?


I'm too meticulous about the saying - I want to put the right word in the right place, at least as I see it. Also, I don't want to waste the energy of text. If three lines are sufficient, why should I "splash" them in thirty, so I will cover a larger area, but I will lose depth. I prefer the well to the swamp.


You are a mentor in creative writing courses. What are you trying to cultivate in the participants? What is the most important sensory for the writer?


The most important thing, in my opinion, not only for the writer, but also for the living person, is not to be misled by the first sense of continuous repetition and banality. The maxim "Nothing new under the sun" is a matter of personal attitude, not inevitability. Of course, it is hardly possible to live without the "crutches" of habit and the facilitating mechanisms of generalizations, but there must be a balance between them and the ever-changing, multifaceted, world-view. One extreme leads to petrifying, the other to crazy.


You are competing for young poetry and prose writers. What do you look for in the texts of the winners that sets them apart?


The main thing for me is the fresh look, the independent thinking, but also the sincerity. Not just ignorance, but a rich literary and general culture must stand behind them. As well as good mastery of writing techniques - not as a means of creating manuscript texts, but as skills that release the creative impulse from the shackles of clumsy expression.


What is the symptom of the desire for rapid text implementation?


It is tempting and comforting to have a podium. The Internet, and Facebook in particular, allow everyone to have their own speaker corner in the virtual Hyde Park. And since, in my opinion, for (almost) every creator, creativity is a constant yell, behind which there is a highly inflamed desire for communication, it is normal for few to be protected from this temptation.

photo: Ivaylo Hranov

There is no way I can ask you about music. The recently unreleased album by the Gologan band has just been released. What is the intersection between literature and music and what dialogues does it create in you? 


To play in a group means to combine your creative energy with that of others, something less common when creating literary texts. When we created "Gologan", we called it "Ethno Rock Poetry" with poet Ivan Hristov. Another poet and musician, Emanuel A. Vidinsky, joined the group, and so the three of us combined not only our musical ideas, but also the poems we wrote. Now with Ivan Hristov we continue in this direction and I think that this symbiosis helps to hear better the polyphony within you, broken through the lens of foreign creativity. The results are truly inspiring.

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