poetry

Irena Matijašević: No one's around

Irena Matijašević, born in Zagreb in 1965, graduated with a degree in English and comparative literature from Zagreb's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. She served as a member of Croatian Semiotic Society’s board of directors and currently she works as an editor at Croatian Radio where she edits programs on poetry and literature, as well as on human sciences. Her work as a translator is marked by translations of theory, anthropological (Clifford Geertz, Interpretative Anthropology, 2010) and psychoanalytic (Anthony Elliott, Psychoanalytic Theory, 2012). Her publications include essays, published in literary magazines and newspapers, as well as three books of poetry: Naizgled (Seemingly, AGM, 2007), Južne životinje (Southern Animals, AGM, 2010) and Danska H20 (Dennmark H20, AGM, 2012). Her poems were translated into German, English, Slovakian, Swedish and Polish. In 2015 she published the novel Black Letter (Algoritam, Zagreb) and presently she is writing a novel Diary of the sea to be published by Hena.com in 2017.



 

SUNDAY, THE UNKNOWN

f# is sharp pitched, the work of the armchair system, the radio is on
blanket set carelessly aside, to begin dreaming again is cracked
glass mornings, a little hope pinned under the blanket, packed in the closet
that serves as a chest, without drawers, here, next to a few autumn jackets
there is no one, except for the cat that sometimes prowls in, and a movement or two
i'm waiting to turn around myself, two or three moves, the composition is given
that's why i can borrow you a piece or two, some tissues at least, you could reply to
my text message at least, that’s tasty, not aggressive, and at once i will help you
discover, when i find out i will send him an email, too, saying i don't hate tuesdays but him,
when i say sunday, damned sunday, no one’s around
it is graceful, through the gauzy curtains to the neighbor’s balcony
the waves of pleasure rise, rage is set aside and waiting, i can't swallow it, not yet
but we’ll learn who lies awake in their darkness, at home a surplus of tissues
to wipe your nose, two or three pieces of feelings scattered around, seemingly like clothes over chairs
because feelings are always more important than the illness, no matter of what kind
 
Translation: Irena Matijašević
 
 
 
THE SUMMER DUST
 
big flowers
in concrete pots. a child running.
a number, a halt, vivisection
there is no better day
for the buzz of engines.
also: smoke, lead
sometimes, flour, a ball of fire. the sun burning
the white canvas of the curtains. reflections
shining on the pavement.
everyone is ready to take a nap, reduce the movement.
so it becomes clear, with the sound of a cold voice
who manages the day. on the ground floor
a secretary diligently types. the phone rings. she answers.
her blonde hair in a tail shakes. same as today
or was it yesterday. the taste of familiarity in the summer dust
of the street. a digital camera. when i fell in love with emblematology,
an acquaintance said. can he list the thousands of dispersed names
in the white pages, sort voters by counties, swim breaststroke,
ring the bell at the front door so that the words say enumeration,
tell you what to do with yourself,
every clock mechanism is empty and the fruits ooze emptiness, and the pots.
watch out, you say to yourself, to continue that way. whitening of the dust,
big flowers, and all these concrete pots.
across the street a child is running, smoke, lead,
canvas of the curtain, the sun as it forms the reflections.
 
Translation: Irena Matijašević
 
 
 
MARIA
 
maria, maria, you have the most beautiful name in the world
you are of spanish blood, hot, you are big on the streets
big in corners, as big and round as barbara
still, you’re not barbara but maria on street
corners, following me, speaking spanish
you are good, a well-known preparation for a holiday
for a gift, for confidence received
for the building of trains, of countries, which will be on the map.
when it comes to me that you hate me, i hate myself too, but never you
you i always respect and understand.
in my zagreb style i celebrate your
temper, your little black hair let loose and your choice,
flower dresses, your lifestyle, maria, sufficiency
of the streets you walk, the fullness of town parks
with steps, hips, fruits, hair
locks, sandals in colors of the sun, bracelets, colors
lit up, your heat and warmth,
my zagreb autumn and i are starting from this level
a new cycle of life, from an idea to realization
a new movie, death and life, but, first and foremost, life,
time is a standard language and you are parts of that language as long as,
a foreword and a measure.
maria, maria, you have the most beautiful name in the world
people go on a general strike when they see you,
anns and richards, and rudolphs
a speech is organized, education is covered by your name,
the policemen stop and let the passers-by,
nine euros, meaning ten, homes are filled,
the secretaries of urban development are making plans,
maria, maria, cloudiness, in layers,
there is a possibility that you’ll eat it, that you’ll smile,
throw back your hair, grow freckles, but it doesn't matter, forever,
my empress,
horsewoman, an adventure, your weapon, we are getting in,
many thoughts, in your sandals i find grapes,
on your arms transvestite’s hairs, but i still dream of you, maria,
you have no idea
what it’s like to live here.
 
Translation: Irena Matijašević
 
 
 
ETERNITY
 
ready for mustaches
unpleasant to touch
i’m not sleepy
it just a phase i’m going through
a self-hatred phase
blind following
maybe I can grow mustaches
maybe a shadow is already visible
in small pneumatic handbooks
how to grow mustaches overnight
how to win a month’s
vacation in the galapagos
or to have perspective on your life
and life is notoriously female
and then eternal female eternal
in you
you find it as an attitude
and it lives before and after and always
you manage to receive it
from mothers, from majorettes
erin brockovich rise out of nothing
motif of phoenix fused with woman
renaissance is certainly female     
birth is woman’s nature
nature preaches birth in the nature
but i think
it’s all the same
we change our opinions and fashions
our fury lasts for millennia
but now it stops
now we have mustache and beard
erin brockovich rise out of nothing
she become the female force
the snake was bisexual
but i’m not that
my sex is eternal

Translation: Miloš Djurdjević
 
 
 

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