Novak, Boris A.




A poet, playwright, translator, and scholar, Boris Novak (1953–) was born in Belgrade. Novak studied comparative literature and philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, in Slovenia, and was a research fellow in American literature at the University of Minnesota. He cofounded and edited Nova revija, Slovenia’s leading dissident magazine during the Communist regime in the 1980s. Novak, who writes in Slovenian, has published some eighty books, including poetry, translations, and critical studies, and has written scripts for children’s radio and television programs. He is vice president of International PEN. For his poetry collection 1001 stih (1983; 1001 verses), Novak received Slovenia’s highest literary honor.

A short poem with long implications, "Decisions," iterates a series of decisions the poet advises us to make. The depth of the meanings of these decisions holds the space for far-reaching conversations which invite us to think about how we make decisions, what decisions are hard, and what matters when making decisions.

Full Text*

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Translation by Mia Dintinjana, published in "World Literature Today," permission of translator.


Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.


Impact and OutcomesKnowledge and UncertaintyMotives and ValuesWisdom and Contemplation

Big Questions


Taking Action

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. How would you describe the choices the speaker encourages?
  2. What are the reasons for making these choices?
  3. Are these decisions—or these alternatives—real decisions or alternatives, and in what ways are we really able to choose?
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