Dead Letter Office: Selected Poems

Dead Letter Office: Selected Poems

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Author: Marko Pogačar

Translator: Andrea Jujević

Publisher: The Word Works (2020)

Dead Letter Office: Selected Poems is, in the words of its translator, Andrea Jurjević, "sharp-witted with a kind of punk-rock sensibility." Pogačar reminds us that god(s) don't exist, that we have to find our individual paths in life, and take responsibility for it. His poems tell us to declare a war on those in power who act like god(s), to uproot from the plague of patriotism, nationalism, and opportunism. He also tells us to learn how to accept mortality, our own and that of others, and to try to love, in all possible and impossible ways.

"Pogačar's incisive poetry finds new life in Jurjevic's dexterously colloquial translations. At times witty, at times ironic, at times remarkably moving, this collection is a welcome introduction to one of Croatian literature's brightest stars.

Kareem James Abu-Zeid

"'What used to be borders is now you,' writes Marko Pogačar in this beautiful, inimitable collection of poems, giving us a world of post-war Yugoslavia where 'TV shows start with familiar scenes.' What is the poet to do in this world? The poet demands the 'green skull of an apple.' It is a world where eggs chirp, newspapers rustle, and the dead are near. What is it, this syntax of seeing one's country with full honesty, without any lyric filters? How does it become so dazzlingly lyrical, nevertheless? 'I dislike walking on a person's left side, ' the poet admits. 'I shove the night into an evil e-mail / and send it to the entire nation.' And behind him we see the world, 'beautiful, like a burning guillotine.' It is blessed, this strangeness of abandon, after all is lost. And yet, not all is lost. What is happening here? Real poetry is happening. Lyric fire. I know it when instead of writing a comment on the book, I just want to keep quoting. For poetry is a mystery that is communicated before it is understood. Marko Pogačar is the real thing, and I am especially grateful to Andrea Jurjevic for these crisp, beautiful translations."

Ilya Kaminsky

"Marko Pogačar's poems dig in their heels on their way to us through Andrea Jurjević—there's something tenacious about them. Gutsy. Physical. Furious. Ethereal. Laughing. Desperate and joyous. Small moves. Reading these lines is like eating roasted chestnuts from a newspaper cone on a street in a red and white country: messy and gorgeous."

Ellen Elias-Bursac