Peter Paul Wiplinger (Österreich), Schriftsteller und künstlerischer Fotograf. Geboren 1939 in Haslach, Oberösterreich. Lebt seit 1960 in Wien. Studium der Theaterwissenschaft, Germanistik, Philosophie. Vorwiegend Lyriker. Seine Gedichte wurden in mehr als 20 Sprachen übersetzt und als Gedichtbände publiziert. Bisher 47 Buchpublikationen, zuletzt: „Tagtraumnotizen“ (2016) und „Schachteltexte“ (2017). - Weitere Informationen: www.wiplinger.eu
BLED IS MORE THAN JUST A PLACE ...
On winter evenings I sometimes sit at my desk in Vienna in front of my photo archive, open the files with the photographs of Bled - over the years they have become numerous - and leaf through this picture book. I watch the faces through a magnifying glass and remember every single moment when I took the photos. All the faces and people are kept in this photo archive and also in my memory. At some faces I look a bit longer, thinking of friends and colleagues who don’t live anymore, who don’t exist any more - only in memory.
Through the glass of my magnifier Branko Hofman smiles at me; Tone Svetina looks grim, Kumbatovic mischievous, Mira Mihelic solemn and my friend Valentin Polansek looks roguish. Jean Charles Lombard seems fragile. I remember our last meeting in Bled. I described it in a poem. I also like to remember the animated discussions in the coffee breaks or at the table, the distinguished reception in Tito’s villa, the informal and cordial get-together during the ”picnics”, when we always had good food, drank good wine and sometimes even danced together; the white-haired, always gallant Igor Torka dancing with the French lady Régine Deforges. One of the photos shows the Finnish poet Kytöhonka doing an acrobatic solo-dance, another one Peteris Petersons from Riga/Latvia, Soviet Union at that time, whom I met later on in Vienna. Again and again I met friends from Bled in Vienna or elsewhere . And often the answer to the question from where we knew each other was: ”Bled”!
During the many years in Bled I collected many addresses; on visiting cards, on little pieces of paper. But most of them I collected in small address books where the names are put in alphabetical order. On the cover is the date of the year so that I know when I got to know whom in Bled. Names and addresses are in the own handwriting of the colleagues and so these notes are also little personal documents. On some pages there are notes from lectures and discussions, sometimes also a poem I wrote. To identify the people and being able to send them their portraits I made here and there remarks such as: red pullover, white blouse, glasses, beard, black hair, golden earrings, hat. Sometimes I leaf through these notebooks and the persons become present, even if the encounters were a long time ago.
After so many years I realise that Bled was an important and decisive intersection to me, which manifests also in the numerous translations of my poetry into other languages and many foreign language publications. Many of these contacts had been arranged or made there. Bled means more to me than only a meeting place for an annual P.E.N.-Conference which takes place there. From the beginning on Bled was a very important opportunity to make the acquaintance of writers and intellectuals, of whom many became my friends over the years. Without the meetings in Bled many of my international contacts would not exist. Every meeting in Bled was like a door opening to me, that was opened to me. And I am very grateful for that.
But Bled was and always still is every time also the experience of a wonderful landscape. Walks along the shore, lasting for hours, sometimes only a round in a short pause between lectures and discussions, opinions and points of view. The encounters with thoughts, opinions and people always built bridges for me, sometimes to the so far unknown and often over long distances - to other countries, cultures, ideologies, social orders; to convictions, hopes, utopias, illusions. I always willingly accepted everything offered to me, searched and found the communication with others. Dialogue was the most essential thing for me in these days of a living community of poets, writers and intellectuals who are - in spite of all contradictions - reconciled by one aim, which is to listen to each other and to understand each other; maybe to find an answer to some of the questions.
Vienna, February 2002
Translation from German into English: Annemarie S. Nowak