Luljeta Lleshanaku is one of Albania's foremost younger poets. Born in Elbasan in 1968, she grew up under virtual house arrest because of her family's opposition to the Stalinist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. She was not permitted to attend college or publish her poetry until the weakening and eventual collapse of the Communist regime in the early 1990s. She is among the first generation of poets to emerge out of the cultural wasteland of enforced socialist realism in the arts, reinventing Albanian poetry almost entirely from scratch. Her published books include The Sleepwalker's Eyes, 1992;
Sunday Bells, 1994; Half-Cubism, 1996; and Antipastoral, 1999).
Shpresa Qatipi is a professor of English at Tirana University. In addition to many poems by Luljeta Lleshanaku, she has translated and published short stories, essays, and articles for the Eurolindja Publishing House in Albania and the Soros Foundation.
Henry Israeli is a poet and playwright, educated at the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop and Theater Arts Department. His books include a collection of poetry, New Messiahs (Four Way Books, 2002) and Fresco: The Selected Poetry of Luljeta Lleshanaku (New Directions, 2002), which he edited and co-translated. He has been awarded fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Canada Council on the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council, as well as a residency at the MacDowell Colony. His poetry and translations have appeared in numerous journals, including Grand Street, The Iowa Review, Quarterly West, Tin House, Fence, Verse, and elsewhere. He is currently at work on a second collection of poetry, tentatively titled Tristesse Derogate. Henry Israeli is also the founder of Saturnalia Books, a small press dedicated to poetry and art books.