Poetry. Translated by Andrea Jurjevic. DEAD LETTER OFFICE is, in the words of its translator, Andrea Jurjevic, 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 Jurjevic--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
About the Author
Marko Pogačar, born in Split, Yugoslavia, is the author of five poetry collections, five books of essays, a short story collection, and a travelogue. He edited the Young Croatian Lyric anthology and is an editor of Quorum, a literary journal, and Proletter, an online magazine for cultural and social issues. He has received many scholarships and residencies, Croatian and international awards for poetry, prose, and essays, and is currently a DAAD fellow in Berlin. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.
Andrea Jurjevic grew up in Rijeka, Croatia, in the former Yugoslavia, before immigrating to the United States. Her debut poetry collection, Small Crimes, won the 2015 Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and her book-length translations from Croatian include MAMASAFARI (Dialogos / Lavender Ink, 2018). Her work appears in TriQuarterly, The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, and many others. She was the recipient of a Robinson Jeffers Tor Prize and the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year award.