A writer considered by many to be the greatest contemporary Slovenian poet. He was born in 1941 in Zagreb, and grew up in Koper. In 1960, he began studying the history of art at the University of Ljubljana. In 1964, as editor of the Perspektive literary magazine, he was imprisoned for a short time for political reasons. A year after he graduated, an underground publishing house published his first volume, Poker (1966), which gave rise to the modernist current in post-war Slovenian poetry. He spent several years in Italy and France, working as an art curator. In 1971, he accepted an invitation to the International Writing Program for writers organised by the University of Iowa. Since then, he has travelled between Europe and America many times. In the years 1979-1981, he held a scholarship in Mexico. Later, he often returned to the United States, where he was a visiting lecturer at several universities, including those in Alabama, Georgia, and Massachusetts. From 1996 to 1997, he was the Slovenian cultural attaché in New York. His frequent travels were reflected in Šalamun’s works, in which one can notice the influences of the New York School poets, Charles Simic, Charles Baudelaire, and César Vallejo.
Šalamun’s oeuvre includes more than 30 volumes of poetry, for which he received a number of prestigious awards and distinctions, such as the Jenko Award (1988) or the Prešeren Award (1999). He also held the Fulbright scholarship. His works have been translated into more than 20 languages. Several volumes and selections of poetry appeared in Polish, translated by Katarina Šalamun-Biedrzycka and Miłosz Biedrzycki.
Šalamun is a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He currently lives in Ljubljana.