Ali Podrimja (born 1942) is a distinguished Albanian poet. He was born in Gjakovë, at the foot of the Albanian Alps (the so-called 'Mountains of the Damned'), in Kosovo, then in the Italian-controlled Fascist Albania.
After a difficult childhood, he studied Albanian language and literature in Prishtina. Author of over a dozen volumes of cogent and assertive verse since 1961, he is recognized both in Kosovo and in Albania itself as a leading and innovative poet. Indeed, he is considered by many to be the most typical representative of modern Albanian verse in Kosovo and is certainly the Kosovo poet with the widest international reputation.
Podrimja’s first collection of elegiac verse, Thirrje ("The calls", Prishtina, 1961), was published while he was still at secondary school in Gjakovë. Subsequent volumes introduced new elements of the poet’s repertoire, a proclivity for symbols and allegory, revealing him as a mature symbolist at ease in a wide variety of rhymes and meters.
In the early eighties, he published the masterful collection Lum Lumi ("Lum Lumi", Prishtina, 1982), which marked a turning point not only in his own work but also in contemporary Kosovo verse as a whole. This immortal tribute to the poet’s young son Lumi, who died of cancer, introduced an existentialist preoccupation with the dilemma of being, with elements of solitude, fear, death and fate. Ali Podrimja is nonetheless a laconic poet. His verse is compact in structure, and his imagery is direct, terse and devoid of any artificial verbosity. Every word counts. What fascinates the Albanian reader is his compelling ability to adorn this elliptical rocky landscape, reminiscent of Albanian folk verse, with unusual metaphors, unexpected syntactic structures and subtle rhymes.