Vol. 11, No. 18, Spring 2014
Vol. 10, No. 17, Summer 2013
Vol. 9, No. 16, Summer 2013
Vol. 8, No. 15, Winter 2011
Vol. 8, No. 14, Summer 2011
Damir Janjalija, Sloboda u izmaglici / Freedom in the Mist, 2013, tr. Saša Važić; English languge editor: Robert D. Wilson; Publisher: Odličan hrčak.
A Sequel to Damir Janjalija’s New Collection Freedom in the Mist
by Dimitar Anakev, Slovenia
Damir Janjalija’s new collection, Freedom in the Mist, is characterised by symbolic words and quotes, poetic and rhetoric figures, engagement, lyricism, interesting rhythms, and, in the best examples, very fresh images such as:
the guest room empty
for a long time
black crows settled on
the church bell
This poem, Good Friday, is, I feel, the best poem of this collection. Its imagery can be compared with Basho’s famous crow poem; however, its sound is also fascinating (the assonance of the sounds r and v in the Serbian version) while its meaning eloquently comments on our reality. All this makes it a real masterpiece.
It should be emphasised that Damir’s haiku are engaged poems, and by this fact, not only by formal mastery, Damir Janjalija is a unique poetry phenomena in our haiku.
Damir does not use haiku to bury his head in the sand, nor for romantic escapism, but for confrontation with reality and its realisation; the poet is not afraid of national literature’s taboos such as the Srebrenica genocide:
Srebrenica fields silent
with the sky
In memory of Srebrenica victims.
Another Damir's constant is the topic of love and traveling, which he approaches in an original and fresh, culturally complex way, using opportunities to, along with the topic, present the reader with new words and phrases and thus to symbolically upgrade his own world with new spaces and to bring his haiku expression closer to contemporary Japanese gendai haiku:
trembling shadows share
a silent kiss
*Inspired by Chagall’s painting Lovers in Moonlight.
as the winter sky changes
*Gurbet is Arabism and signifies vagrancy in a foreign country, work abroad as a migrant worker, lonesome life away from home... It is also used as a synonym for Roma.
Or the following Baudelairean intonation of familiar topics from classical haiku:
warm is my
This heroin-themed haiku was written after Damir’s reading of Keith Richard’s book, Life. The third line, apart from bearing the title of one of Damir’s favourite songs by The Rolling Stones, Dead Flowers, symbolises the fate of all heroin addicts.
Or the following fresh and subtle juxtaposition:
thirty fifth autumn...
a railway bridge peeps
out of the fog
In this second manuscript, Freedom in the Mist, there is no poor (or mediocre) poem, but every poem is a reading adventure and literary challenge. In just 24 poems the poet manages to build an impressive poetry world, original and wide, and inherent and intimate to him. Damir Janjalija’s haiku poems are the proof of the creative power of Balkan haiku, and the author is one of its distinctive highlights.
In Radovljica, January 27, 2013