/, Literature, Blesok no. 153/SPEECH IN HONOR OF POETRY


(Vlada Urošević, Golden Wreath of Struga Poetry Evenings, 2023)


“If I were a critic of my own work, I’d say my poetry aims at the wondrous”, Urošević stated on one occasion. In other words, poetically put, “My trusted ally is the shifting meaning / for all of you: a bird flies. For me, an island moves.” The poetic imagination of Urošević, freed from all manner of shackles, has the power to create an entire universe in a small space. His poetic text is an imagistic (iconic) or malleable projection of the world that does not pretend to fidelity and comprehensiveness, but “strives to be a miracle on its own – a token of victory of imagination over reality” – as the author himself declares in his pursuit of materializing the illusion (an attempt for the absent to become present).

“It was autumn, and the season was ending in Ohrid
on the deserted quay over which seagulls squawked,
several Japanese families stood
with large suitcases plastered with labels.
They waited persistently and there was no one to explain
That the summer cruise schedule was no longer valid
That the captain had passed away and the conductor had retired
That there was no waterway from here.
Staying sometimes had its own vertigo.”

These lines of Vlada Urošević’s poem “Travelers” take us in medias res to the center of his poetic labyrinth: its narrative aspect, an event of unpredictable consequences, a departure from the ordinary, a drama, supposed parallel worlds, chronotopic interweave of the familiar (Mediterranean landscapes, the colors and scents of Ohrid) and the distant (Japan, land of the sunrise), of the known and the unknown / the other, the foreign, of the present and the past and the future, a trap the characters (travelers unable to travel) fall into… Substitute the Japanese tourists with us, present here, enclosed in this magnificent cathedral church of St. Sofia, which, as a locus of “the passage of ages” would transform into a Noa’s anchored ark and the outcome would be a kind of menacing atmosphere or a state of siege, as our laureate said yesterday, but also a subtle, intellectual irony, Urošević’s favorite technique and a protective mechanism against patheticism and banality.

Illusion, the play arising from Urošević’s lines is not accidental: for him, it is just as powerful (or just as significant) for our inner senses as reality; it is, undoubtedly, one of the aspects of imagination, and Urošević, as an acclaimed geographer of the imaginary, is, as academician Katica Kulavkova writes, “a poet-magician/illusionist who conspires poetry’s right to its own hermeticism, ambiguity and aporia”. Urošević the poet, a passionate lover of the Wonder, would lucidly add: “there are moments when everything finally obtains its value / and when delusion, even its highest form, / is the only path to wonders.” To be amazed at any cost! is the motto of this poetry, resembling a statement of the Croatian poet Antun Branko Šimić dating almost a hundred years ago: “Poets are the wonders of the world.” Vlada Urošević undoubtedly confirms this definition, irrespective of the fact that he may be “the one that laughs or the one that is frightened”, as stated in one of his early books of poems on the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch.

We are wrong to think that Urošević the poet creates imaginary worlds void of signs of artificial reality. Illusion is only one of the numerous “pathways that branch out” in Urošević’s poetic labyrinth; complementary to the curious, the unusual and the strange in his poetry is the real, true world experience. In this sense, in the first part of the abovementioned poem “Travelers”, the lyrical subject concludes: “True travelling is nausea that he feels / the rock thrown into an abyss without echo.” No matter if it is real or imaginary, the Unknown beckons and irresistibly attracts and “the strive to the Inconceivable becomes even more infectious”, the poet warns ecstatically!

Vlada Urošević himself is a labyrinth-character, an exceptional intellectual – erudite, wonderfully curious, with an aristocratic air about him, an inspiration and role model of younger generations, an unusual person who has left an indelible mark on both the Macedonian and on the European literary stage of the second part of the 20th century and the early 21st century. A cosmopolitan poet, one of the most authentic and original voices of Macedonian poetry, a representative of the generation of contemporary Macedonian modernist poets, the most inventive generation in poetic language and expression; one that permanently defined the physiognomy of our poetry as a “European phenomenon”.

Urošević’s poetry is not strictly confined to national frameworks but is dialogically turned to the European (and the world’s) cultural and civilizational heritage. His verses pulsate in the rhythm of magic and of the “imaginary language” of the Russian Futurists or the “phonetic songs” of the Dadaists, they feed on archetypal and alchemical symbols; they carry traces of oneiric, mythological and ritual-magical images; they are powered by scientific and pseudo-scientific (alternative) knowledge, they surrender to the secret and mystical forces of nature in the style of the Russian symbolists, they create “topoi of memory” (the city, the house, the library, the theatre and the museum are frequent topoi in Urošević) as an expression of the cosmogonic act of setting the world in order, but also an atmosphere of catastrophe that governs urban chaos, in the manner of the German expressionists. Finally, his fascination with the strange and the miraculous is to be correlated with surrealism, not with the surrealist technique of automatic texts, but with the surrealist search for everyday magic, that is, with the act of miraculousization of everyday life.

AuthorLidija Kapuševska-Drakulevska
2024-05-12T11:51:39+00:00 May 12th, 2024|Categories: Essays, Literature, Blesok no. 153|Comments Off on SPEECH IN HONOR OF POETRY