Neža Maurer
Neža Maurer

The poetess Neža Maurer received the prestigious Slovene Woman of the Year Award Neža Maurer, the 78-year-old poetess of love poems, stood in the limelight and she was saying: “While men shovel the gravel left and right and left and right, women fry eggs one, two.

” She was commenting on the role of the women in contemporary society and she found her cue in the scene behind her back, in which the comedians Boris Kobal and Jaša Jamnik were shoveling gravel in vain. It was the afternoon of January 22nd and Neža Maurer has just learnt that she became the Slovene Woman of the Year 2008.

The title was awarded to her by the readers of the magazine Jana, one of the oldest ladies journals in Slovenia, and the sentence was part of her thank you speech she was making up while standing on the stage.
The speech was an additional proof of her poetic greatness. She was speaking in rhymes. The general feeling in the audience was appreciation – appreciation for the modest and fragile woman who despite obvious greatness embedded in her beautiful poems looks in the mirror at the end of the day and tries to convince herself: “You are not doing too bad.” Then, she puts the mirror down. Her words resonated in the ears of many other successful women who are haunted by lack of self-confidence.

Neža Maurer wrote many books of poetry for adults and for children. She considers herself a writer although most of her life she earned money doing other jobs; she worked as a teacher, journalist, editor, translator, and advisor for cultural affairs. Writing is her passion and her torment. Even at the old age, she cannot imagine life without love, so her latest book of poems is about love.

Poetry is not a mainstream conversational topic in Slovenia. Although lately poems began to appear in the daily press and although poets receive several awards for their work, it seems that the average Slovene is more familiar with novelties in prose than in poetry. Thus, the awards such as the one given to Neža Maurer which is given for unselfishness, imagination, creativity, courage and success, help to cast some light on contemporary Slovene poetry.
Poets are sometimes called doctors of the soul; in the past the award was often given to the doctors of the body.

The work of the latter can be easily seen, evaluated and thus appreciated; yet it is the work of the former which makes one feel better when one is lonely and blue. The long applause that Neža Maurer received at Slovene National Theatre proves that although the effect of poetry may not be directly measurable, poetry is needed and appreciated, and Neža Maurer’s love poems are respected and admired.
In the 21 year old tradition of presenting this prestigious award, Neža Maurer is the second poetess to receive it; the first was Mila Kacic, an actress who, too, was famous for her sensitive love poems.

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