poetry

Olja Savičević Ivančević: Postcards from Istanbul (a selection)

Maybe it's time for a bit of poetic reflections from Istanbul.



 

A LETTER TO MY HUSBAND

 

I didn't die in an earthquake and I wasn't killed by the bomb which exploded yesterday in Istanbul due to the election campaign. I know that newspapers don't carry the news about the proportion of turquoise and purple in this city, because who in the world would be interested in something like that, these things are for housewives. A death is a news, and among the living things – only those of political nature.

You forgot it, darling, we survived fear on both sides of the sight, it was back at home.

The injustice inflicted upon us by our bodies, experience tells us, must stop at some point.

All butchers will be put behind bars, the earth tremor will cease, but the satisfaction we call justice will not come. Still: there are many satisfactions, it is worth while to concentrate on them.

The only fear I will hold on to is that a sudden break of the show, an idiotic disaster, will prevent me from grabbing your hands, and the other, tiny ones, which have always been catching me napping, combing me and pushing me doggedly out of doors.

Today as well as tomorrow, for the whole mankind, whatever way you look at it, there's no news more important in the world than your having taught our little one, just yesterday, in Split, how to ride the bicycle. 

 

 

THE WOMAN UNDER THE HAT

 

Along the gaudy road through Beşiktaş, I set out for Ortaköy.

This Ortaköy is a surreal place, but the three hours of dilligent walking aren’t mentioned by anyone.

The relations here are different.

There is a million women passing by the road, and not one of them wears a hat.

Fishermen in the port, cab drivers in their taxies, believers in front of the mosque, guards with their rifles, girls by the fountain: a foreign woman under the wide brim.

On my way back, nevertheless, don’t be crazy, I catch a bus to Taxim, the conductor says: a lira and some small change. It seems to me that we are being stuck in one of the three endless lines, without anyone cursing anyone else’s mother; passengers just follow the things through the window. I’m peeking at them (they might know something), they’re peeking at me (under the brim). Half an hour is not a big deal. The relations here are different, I imagine.

And a million women in Taxim, yet not a single one with hat.

 

 

A STANDARD LIFE       

 

A coffee and water. Checking news off-hand, hanging the wet washing, going to a store. I like the routine, it has its rhythm.

A standard life is a pleasant day without a plot.

I’m drawing back the curtains and I’m already near the first guests on the top of the restaurant; it seems we’re always having breakfast on the same terrace.

In passing, I knock on the dirty glass for the dove on the drain pipes to come near and I put down the bread for her. Strolls are long and I always bring something new in the apartment, things I shall write down and thus retain: a book or a recorded Turkish movie with English subtitles, and groceries.

And then: photographs of passers-by, because people in a city are the same thing as water is in the nature.

A foreign woman is sometimes also consoled by stallkeepers’ smiles (yes, these are hugs among unknown people).

When the city takes a breather and the terraces are emptied, while the night is filled with white birds, I open the windows wide, counting the beats of wings. I like the routine, it has its rhythm.

 

 

CLOSING MY EYES, HEARING THE CITY

                                                                Orhan Veli Kanik

 

In the morning, it’s a silent saxophone on the terrace of an adjacent bar, here, upstairs, on the top floor; seagulls, other birds, and the frequent sound of ship’s sirens from the Golden Horn, street repairs, occasional fragments of conversation on the staircase, foreign language. A superhuman voice from within minarets is followed by collective murmur from the mosque, and afterwards tiny cats, amiable at close range and small-headed, appear screaming; then oriental rhythms, a female singer with sad voice, vendors of fish and spices, performers with instruments I cannot name. On the Istiklal street an old man is singing and dying, his grandson holding the microphone for him. I don’t hear the street-car’s bell and a young man with big white teeth, almost a child, puts me away from the rails. His friends laugh merrily when I say: you saved my life. Taxi drivers, waiters and storekeepers jump out of their boxes, offering anything for a few liras: madame, lady, put your glasses off, lady, let me see your eyes. Humans and dogs and cars, the noise of supporters. And a heart full of blood beating in your ears, an ear winking like an eye: the city is a DJ and has at least 50 million hands playing discs on gold-plated counters, on butchers’ counters, on merchants’ counters, on sacred counters, and at least 50 million human, canine, feline, rubber feet, feet dancing as if the place is getting too hot for all of them, as if they’re losing their footing and pawing, as if all this evades all reason.    

 

Translator: Dinko Telećan

panorama

Zagreb Classic Open Air Festival Kicks Off on June 23rd

Zagreb’s annual Open Air Classic Festival kicks off this week. The festival encompasses a series of classical music concerts and will take place downtown in Tomislav Park, with the beautiful backdrop of the Art Pavilion. The festival runs from June 23rd to June 29th, 2022.


panorama

Rebecca Duran's Take on Modern Day Life in Pazin (Istria)

Croatia is a small, charming country known today as a prime European tourist destination. However, it has a complicated often turbulent history and is seemingly always destined to be at the crossroads of empires, religions and worldviews, with its current identity and culture incorporating elements from its former Communist, Slavic, Austrian-Hungarian, Catholic, Mediterranean, and European traditions.

review

Review of Dubravka Ugrešić's Age of Skin

Dubravka Ugrešić is one of the most internationally recognizable writers from Croatia, but she has a contentious relationship with her home country, having gone into self-exile in the early 90s. Her recently translated collection of essays, The Age of Skin, touches on topics of of exile and displacement, among others. Read a review of Ugrešić’s latest work of non-fiction, expertly translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac, in the link below .

panorama

Vlaho Bukovac Exhibition in Zagreb Will Run Through May

Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922) is arguably Croatia's most renowned painter. Born in the south in Cavtat, he spent some of his most impressionable teenage years in New York with his uncle and his first career was as a sailor, but he soon gave that up due to injury. He went on to receive an education in the fine arts in Paris and began his artistic career there. He lived at various times in New York, San Francisco, Peru, Paris, Cavtat, Zagreb and Prague. His painting style could be classified as Impressionism which incorporated various techniques such as pointilism.

An exhibition dedicated to the works of Vlaho Bukovac will be running in Klovićevi dvori Gallery in Gornji Grad, Zagreb through May 22nd, 2022.

review

Review of Neva Lukić's Endless Endings

Read a review of Neva Lukić's collection of short stories, Endless Endings, recently translated into English, in World Literature Today.

panorama

A Guide to Zagreb's Street Art

Zagreb has its fair share of graffiti, often startling passersby when it pops up on say a crumbling fortress wall in the historical center of the city. Along with some well-known street murals are the legendary street artists themselves. Check out the article below for a definitive guide to Zagreb's best street art.

panorama

Beloved Croatian Children's Show Professor Balthazar Now Available in English on YouTube

The colorful, eclectic and much beloved Croatian children's cartoon Professor Balthazar was created by Zlatko Grgić and produced from the late 1960s through the 1970s. Now newer generations will be able to enjoy the Professor's magic, whether they speak Croatian or English.

panorama

New Book on Croatian Football Legend Robert Prosinečki

Robert Prosinečki's long and fabled football career includes winning third place in the 1998 World Cup as part of the Croatian national team, stints in Real Madrid and FC Barcelona as well as managerial roles for the Croatian national team, Red Star Belgrade, the Azerbaijani national team and the Bosnian Hercegovinian national team.

news

Sandorf Publishing House Launches American Branch

Croatian publishing house Sandorf launched their American branch called Sandorf Passage earlier this year.

panorama

Jonathan Bousfield on the Seedy Side of the Seaside

From strange tales of mysterious murders to suspected criminals hiding out to scams, duels and gambling, Opatija, a favourite seaside escape for Central Europeans at the turn of the last century, routinely filled Austrian headlines and the public's imagination in the early 20th century.

review

Review of new English translation of Grigor Vitez's AntonTon

Hailed as the father of 20th century Croatian children's literature, Grigor Vitez (1911-1966) is well known and loved in his homeland. With a new English translation of one of his classic tales AntonTon (AntunTun in Croatian), children around the world can now experience the author's delightful depiction of the strong-minded and silly AntonTon. The Grigor Vitez Award is an annual prize given to the best Croatian children's book of the year.

news

The Best of New Eastern European Literature

Have an overabundance of free time, thanks to the pandemic and lockdowns? Yearning to travel but unable to do so safely? Discover the rhythm of life and thought in multiple Eastern European countries through exciting new literature translated into English. From war-torn Ukraine to tales from Gulag inmates to the search for identity by Eastern Europeans driven away from their home countries because of the economic or political situations but still drawn back to their cultural hearths, this list offers many new worlds to explore.

panorama

More Zagreb Street Art

Explore TimeOut's gallery of fascinating and at times thought-provoking art in the great open air gallery of the streets of Zagreb.

panorama

Welcome to Zagreb's Hangover Museum

Partied too hard last night? Drop by Zagreb's Hangover Museum to feel more normal. People share their craziest hangover stories and visitors can even try on beer goggles to experience how the world looks like through drunken eyes.

panorama

Jonathan Bousfield on the Future as Imagined in 1960s Socialist Yugoslavia

How will the futuristic world of 2060 look? How far will technology have advanced, and how will those advancements affect how we live our everyday lives? These are the questions the Zagreb-based magazine Globus asked in a series of articles in 1960, when conceptualizing what advancements society would make 40 years in the future, the then far-off year of 2000. The articles used fantastical predictions about the future to highlight the technological advancements already made by the then socialist Yugoslavia. Take a trip with guide, Jonathan Bousfield, back to the future as envisioned by journalists in 1960s Yugoslavia.

panorama

Untranslatable Croatian Phrases

What’s the best way for an open-minded foreigner to get straight to the heart of another culture and get a feel for what makes people tick? Don’t just sample the local food and drink and see the major sights, perk up your ears and listen. There’s nothing that gives away the local flavor of a culture more than the common phrases people use, especially ones that have no direct translation.

Check out a quirky list of untranslatable Croatian phrases from Croatian cultural guide extraordinaire, Andrea Pisac, in the link below:

panorama

Jonathon Bousfield on the Museum of Broken Relationships

Just got out of a serious relationship and don't know what to do with all those keepsakes and mementos of your former loved one? The very popular and probably most unique museum in Zagreb, the Museum of Broken Relationships, dedicated to preserving keepsakes alongside the diverse stories of relationships gone wrong, will gladly take them. Find out how the museum got started and take an in-depth look at some of its quirkiest pieces in the link below.

panorama

Cool Things To Do in Zagreb

Zagreb is Croatia’s relaxed, charming and pedestrian-friendly capital. Check out Time Out’s definitive Zagreb guide for a diverse set of options of what to explore in the city from unusual museums to legendary flea markets and everything in between.

panorama

Jonathan Bousfield on Diocletian's Legacy in Split

Diocletian’s Palace is the main attraction in Split, the heart and soul of the city. Because of the palace, Split’s city center can be described as a living museum and it draws in the thousands of tourists that visit the city annually. But how much do we really know about the palace’s namesake who built it, the last ruler of a receding empire? Jonathan Bousfield contends that history only gives us a partial answer.

interview

The Poetry of Zagreb

Cities have served as sources of inspiration, frustration, and discovery for millennia. The subject of sonnets, stories, plays, the power centers of entire cultures, hotbeds of innovation, and the cause of wars, cities are mainstays of the present and the future with millions more people flocking to them every year.

Let the poet, Zagreb native Tomica Bajsić, take you on a lyrical tour of the city. Walk the streets conjured by his graceful words and take in the gentle beauty of the Zagreb of his childhood memories and present day observation.

panorama

You Haven't Experienced Zagreb if You Haven't Been to the Dolac Market

Dolac, the main city market, is a Zagreb institution. Selling all the fresh ingredients you need to whip up a fabulous dinner, from fruits and vegetables to fish, meat and homemade cheese and sausages, the sellers come from all over Croatia. Positioned right above the main square, the colorful market is a beacon of a simpler way of life and is just as bustling as it was a century ago.

panorama

Croatian Phrases Translated into English

Do you find phrases and sayings give personality and flair to a language? Have you ever pondered how the culture and history of a place shape the common phrases? Check out some common sayings in Croatian with their literal translations and actual meanings below.

panorama

Discover Croatia's Archaeological Secrets

Discover Croatia’s rich archaeological secrets, from the well known ancient Roman city of Salona near Split or the Neanderthal museum in Krapina to the often overlooked Andautonia Archaeological Park, just outside of Zagreb, which boasts the excavated ruins of a Roman town or the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, Vinkovci.

panorama

Croatian Sites on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

A little know fact is that Croatia, together with Spain, have the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO, and Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.

panorama

Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is one of those things which always finds its way to every visitor’s busy schedule.

panorama

Zagreb's Street Art

So you're visiting Zagreb and are curious about it's underground art scene? Check out this guide to Zagreb's street art and explore all the best graffiti artists' work for yourself on your next walk through the city.

panorama

Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

Authors' pages

Književna Republika Relations PRAVOnaPROFESIJU LitLink mk zg