Translated from Macedonian into English by Marija Girevska
Vlada Urošević (b. 1934) is one of the most prominent contemporary Macedonian authors. Poetically, his discourse is being linked to the legacy of the European avant-garde, and Urošević undoubtedly exhibits deep affiliation with its experiences. In regards to the developmental pathways of the new Macedonian poetry, Urošević belongs to the second generation of Macedonian poets – the generation which marked the most innovative vision of the poetic language and the poetic expression after the World War II. This is the generation of poets who played a decisive role in the esthetic emancipation and affirmation of the Macedonian poetry as a poetry complementary to the modern European poetic experiences.
In his six decades of permanent presence on the Macedonian literary scene, Urošević, besides being a poet, has been equally successful as a novelist, short story writer, versifier, anthologist, writer of travelogues, essayist, literary and fine art critic. In each of the aforementioned spheres he succeeds in offering a new, exciting, impressive and imponderable adventure. In terms of contemplation, the works of this author conceal palimpsest traces of ancient cultural (preliminary mythic) strata (evident in short stories and novels), as well as matrices (aural perceptions) of certain magic word formulas (dominant in the poetic expression), and finally some symbols of archetypal significance in the Jungian sense of the word (in particular present in literary criticism and essay works, but also in his poetry and prose). The works of Urošević correspond intellectually to some other artistic (painting) and non-artistic works, primarily scientific (archeology, astronomy, physics, psychoanalysis), but also pseudo-scientific spheres (esoteric disciplines), and one of his constant obsessions, on a spiritual level, which is worth mentioning, is the dialogue with other writings (from Gilgamesh to Borges), as well as “selection by propinquity” of an entire pleiade of his literary predecessors who have passed through his translation laboratory (Gérard de Nerval, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Andre Breton, Henri Michaux, Allan Bousquet…).
As a writer, Vlada Urošević possesses an incessant spirit of such power that enables him to penetrate on the other side of the occurrent, to step on the other side of the probable, and as William Blake would say, to open “the doors of perception” towards new and unknown worlds. Even in the well-known, already familiar reality of “here” and “now” Urošević discovers some kind of magic and some kind of mysterious, unusual beauty. In this way he reaches the gates of Surrealism.
“Surrealism is my great love” – says Vlada Urošević in Vladimir Jankovski’s book Ogledalo na zagatkata (The Looking-Glass of the Puzzle, 2003) and adds: “Surrealism was a great school for me. (…) Surrealism taught me to see the magic of everyday life, just as the Surrealists themselves used to say, i.e. to discover the wonder of life around me in every moment of my existence. I think this is the greatest lesson that I have learned from Surrealism – to discover the wonder of everyday life even at times when ordinary everyday living seems dim and dull and it apparently does not offer any great excitements.”
The diving into “the underground rocks of surrealism” (as the title of one of the chapters of Vlada Urošević book Astrolab suggests) bears its pre-history in the early childhood of this author: “I did not know, I could not have known that there was somewhere something called Surrealism, but the objects, the images, the ideas that served the Surrealists as starting points for their humorous, vertiginous, provocative rising to the heights of the new and the undiscovered, have already been surrounding me” he writes in the text “Sentimental Panorama of Surrealism” (Aldebnaran, 1991) and continues: “Recognized, after many years, in the paintings of De Chirico, those objects that were part of the everyday surroundings of my childhood have created for me out of Surrealism something recognizable, already sensed, already familiar.”