LYUBOMIR NIKOLOV is a Bulgarian poet now living in Pittsburgh, whose first book of poems translated into English appeared in April:
"My village was on the very border with Yugoslavia. And this barbed-wire fence existed in my village until two years ago - just like a concentration camp. People were not allowed to go outside the fence. It was compulsory to have passports.... Even I, who was born in this village, I wasn't allowed to come without special permission from Sofia. It was terrible. You felt kind of illegal. We were cut off from the rest of the world. You're by yourself, and it's easy to believe that you're the only one, the m ightiest.... This connection between Europe and America should be stronger and stronger. Because I see that American culture is a bit self-contained. It seems that it almost doesn't need this feeding from outside. But it's a bit dangerous. You lose your attitude [about] what's going on. And I think that, in the future, America should open itself up to the rest of the world."