DRAGAN JOVANOVIC DANILOV
Dragan Jovanović Danilov, an author, art critic and essayist, was born in Požega on 7th November 1960. He studied at the Faculty of Law and at the Department of History of Art at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.
Jovanović Danilov has had the following poetry books published: Eucharistia (1990), The Enigmas of the Night (1991), The Pentagram of the Heart (1992), The Home of Bach’s Music (1993), Living Parchment (1994), Europe Under Snow (1995), Pantocr(e)ator (1997), The Head of a Harp (co-authored with Divna Vuksanović, 1998), Spirits from the South (1999), A Concert for No One (2001), Homer of the Suburbs (2003), The Nest Over the Abyss (2005), The Memoirs of Sand (2008), My True Illusions (2010), When Innocent Souls Depart (2011), The Wine from a Volcano (2012) and The Symetry of a Whirlpool (2014). His published novels are: The Almanac of Sand Dunes (1996), The Rood Screen at the End of the World (1998), The Father of Ice Hills (2009) and The Waves of the Belgrade Sea (2013). He has also written a book of autopoetic essays titled The Heart of the Ocean (1999).
Jovanović Danilov’s poetry has been described by Italian, French, English, Bulgarian, Romanian and Slovak-speaking critics. His poems are included in the anthology New European Poets, published by Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2008. He has appeared at numerous international poetry festivals and has hosted several one-man literary evenings and poetry readings in France.
Jovanović Danilov has received the following literary awards: the “Branko” Award, the “Zmaj” Award, the “Vasko Popa” Award, the “Branko Miljković” Award, the “Meša Selimović” Award, Vital’s “Zlatni suncokret” (“Golden Sunflower”) Award, the “Oskar Davičo Award”, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts Award from the “Branko Ćopić” Fund, the “Prosveta” Award, the “Stevan Pešić” Award, the “Risto Ratković” Award, the “Jefimijin vez” Award, the “Pesma nad pesmama” (“The Song of Songs”), the “Zlatni prsten despota Stefana Lazarevića” („The Gold Ring of Despot Stefan Lazarević”) Award, the “Dimitrije Mitrinović” Award, the “Laza Kostić” Award, the “Momo Kapor” Award and the “Dis” Award for his complete works of poetry. He has also received international literary awards such as the “Pro Creation” Award and “Velika bazjaška povelja” (“The Great Bazjas Charter”). His poetry books have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Bulgarian, Slovak, Romanian and Macedonian. His novel The Rood Screen at the End of the World has been translated into Hungarian by Janos Borbely and published in 2006 by Napkút Publishing House in Budapest.
He lives in Požega and Belgrade.
A TWISTED PERSPECTIVE
As little as possible should be said about it, for there are no
statements or obvious words that can describe
the beloved, a temporary loss of orientation,
the way she rides into your heart and fills it with
Words deprive us of intimacy with reality;
where there are words, there is always a danger
of a twisted perspective.
Therefore, I beware of words, even the most beautiful ones,
and there is so much I wish to say, for despite the fact
that silence is the language with the greatest scope,
I still like words.
As is the case with poverty-infested favelas,
there are no pillars in language either –
only sentences gathered together
that haven’t embraced yet.
A woman truly loves you only when, once again, together
with her, you find your century-old feudalism.
When she looks at you, you get a halo around you head.
When she gives you her heart, you can never
give it back to her.
(Translated by Novica Petrovic)
ROOM CARRIED ON WINGS
I, too, had my travels.
Last night I read in the armchair in the corner,
And today I’m under the spider web
On the other side of the room – a cat asleep in my lap
Since she knows there’s no reason to get involved.
Speaking of solitude, I distance myself from it.
I’m not reexamining the frontiers of the void
Nor the possibilities of the poetic language;
I’ve no interest in the shrill intricacies of the epic,
The feats of Kazakh chieftain; I don’t have
My own website on the internet; my wild shadow
Is alone in a room gone wild and terrifying.
Tender like a foot sole of a child, I left myself
In some seaside town for the night
To descend and cover my body with the immensity
Of someone who is calm and who is everywhere.
Motherland, I’m your poor child,
I’m a piece of paper on which a heart beats.
The smell of the sea dreamed of long ago
Wafts into my chaos, it watches me with eyes of a blind man,
Tells me that I’m the great traveler
Who doesn’t budge from his home.
There, too, I had my travels.
(Translated by Charles Simic)
THE RAVEN AND I
That raven on the plain
I put it there.
I framed it
Depicted and fed it
With my memory.
In return, it warms me
With its sunned body.
It encourages me to describe
With words the world that
Describes me from within.
The Raven has it easy –
Charismatic precisely because
It neither strives for it
Nor needs to write.
So perfect, it is enough
To watch me while I write
(Translated by Alison and Vladimir Kapor)