Marijana Radmilović was born in Vinkovci where she lives today (although she will shortly move to Osijek). She attended elementary and secondary school in Vinkovci, and then read Croatian Studies in Osijek. Since 1997 she has been a teacher in Vukovar, at Vukovar Secondary School no. 1. She teaches Croatian language and literature to ethnic Serb pupils in a school which is even today divided into Croat and Serb departments. She describes it as a worn-out building which lets the rain in, with paint flaking from the walls, and degrading conditions which are unfit for the education of children.
Marijana Radmilović is a poet of a kind still rarely encountered in the poetry of any nation, Croatia included. Her cultivated lyrical sensibility, close to the mainstream of modern Croatian poetry in its tonal and stylistic resources, is unexpectedly visionary in terms of gender politics. She is the first poet here, and not simply the first of her generation, to write about motherhood in poetry, openly and with immediacy. She has found a balance between functional lyrical description and the metaphors and chains of metonymy which underpin the text.
The main focus of her interest is herself and the worlds which continually circle and collide within her private life and the private lives of her close family. She succeeds in replenishing the established range of themes typical of reflexive and introspective poetry. If she succeeds in drawing the necessary energy from them, perhaps even inspiration, she thereby demonstrates that good poetry is written in a space where different generational and poetic interests unite and find a common path.
Marijana Radmilović's poetry is also characterised by other, completely contemporary semantic layers, by which she continually calls attention to a very specific danger which, one might say, lurks at every step. Her detached voice is focussed on barely perceptible shifts in the apparently isolated and protected world of an individual woman, in her contact with the external world (hence contemporary society), where she almost reflexively becomes suppressed and very discreet. Here too it is possible to recognize the signature of our times and the die-casting of the individual.
Marijana Radmilović’s poetry and short stories have been published in Quorum, Književna revija, Plima, Zarez, and Riječi.
Translated by Kim Burton
All these years
Diseases flake off the rain . . .
Flat dull plant . . .
Weightless and Bodiless
Without Waking You
Portreti nepoznatih žena, Portraits of an Unknown Women, DHK, Drenovci, 1998.
Bolest je sve uljepšala, Sickness Embellished Everything, Meandar, Zagreb – Požega, 2003.
Josip and Ivan Kozarac Prize, 1999.
Dobriša Cesarić Prize, 2003.
Kvirinovi dani Prize, Sisak, 2004.