Dubravka Djuric: Sound Only

photo: Ch.Bernstein, 2007

I recently recorded Dubravka Djuric reading in Serbo-Croatian; it's at her new PennSound page. Here is a good test of Basil Bunting's remark that ninety percent of the poetry comes across just hearing it. Her performance is remarkable and much does come through without knowing her language. Or am I kidding myself (which I like to do in any case)?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Here's an agreement: It can be fascinating to give oneself over to another language in poetry, to simply listen, without understanding a word. I recently got back from a wonderful conference in Bosnia, the 46th annual Sarajevo Poetry Days, where poets from many parts of the world were in attendance. As one would expect, many participants were from the Balkans, so I had the chance to hear Serb, Croat, and Bosnian poets read. It's a beautiful sound. And interesting things can happen to the listener, when he or she listens fully, even without clear comprehension in the semantic sense.

We need now, of course, more translation from the area. They are translating English-language poets avidly--I'm committed to doing what I can to find ways of getting some of these poets into English (the ones I met at the conference are some of the most learned, critically sophisticated poets I have met--this includes some very young people, as well, whose education is rather astonishing).

A person who will be key in this process of exchange, I believe, is Semezdin Mehmedinovic, a major figure in Bosnia, and currently in Washington, D.C., who has begun (with Pedja Kojovic) a very ambitious publishing project called Eiffel's Bridge, from which the first series of very elegant books is due out soon.