Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dead Nightingale / Dead Hen

Novica Tadic is a Yugoslavian poet, and he is terrifying, and he is inspiring. Something in these poems is so active... the NOW of these poems so immediate that you almost want to look over your shoulder, but you can't because the source of the visible & consuming darkness is so definitely coming from within. These are poems of fever prophesy, the voice & perspective unstable, always threatening to collapse or be consumed by the approaching dark they desire to express. Gets me all shivery, reminds me of work by the Brothers Quay. Here are two poems:


He shows me tonight
his hair of wire glass and flowers
double-edged lips
five-pointed tongue

Ah he unbuttons
his silk vest--
he has a body after all--
a gold watch

And in the meantime meantime
in the shadow of his trousers
instead of feet
he has two little wheels
devilish little wheels

Sheepskin Coat

Winter. Strangers came and took my sheepskin coat.
Now, what will I cover myself with? Only with prayers
and with the light, trembling wings of a moth.
With so many thoughts and feelings, let my mind drift.
My name has been blackened; it opens; it whispers.

I just finished reading Dark Things, but I'd also like to recommend The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, ed. J.D. McClatchy, which first introduced me to not only Tadic but a number of influential poets...


Ms. Teref said...

If you enjoyed Dark Things, I recommend two other collections of Novica Tadic translations in English: Assembly (Host Publications, 2009) translated by Steven and Maja Teref and Night Mail (Oberlin, 1992) translated by Charles Simic.

sophie klahr said...

Thank you for the recommendation! I look forward to reading more from Tadic.