Vol. 12, No 20, Summer 2015
Vol. 11, No. 19, Winter 2014
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
Ljubomir Radovančević. dr.sc., Croatia
Minimalistic haiku-art by DjurdjaVukelić-Rožić
This review refers to a new publication (2015) of the trilogy in a small book form by Djurdja Vukelić-Rožić, self-published, 19 cm, paperback, each book in two colours (pairing warm with cool colours), English translation by the author: a tanka collection “A Gaze at the Strait of Otranto” illustrated by Dejan Lekić; a collection of haiku “Silent Music” illustrated by Bette Norcross Wappner’s block carvings, edited and proof-read by SašaVažić, and a collection of senryu, with five haibun, photo haiga and photography by the author herself. On the cover of this collection is a photo made by Stjepan Rožić, Djurdja’s husband.
The senryu written by Dj.V.Rožić are characterized by simplicity, which brings us to a comic atmosphere. She uses poetic figures of speech, personification and animalism (all things have a soul). She also rounds off her senryu, which, at first, require the reader’s cleverness, and bring in irony as a characteristic of humour. Not all her senryu are written in three-verses; some of them are one-line poems. Expressing herself freely, she uses unusual words, as well as humorous reversals and surreal combinations and shifts.
Modern technologies enable people to deal with three things simultaneously (page 25). The author uncovers human hypocrisy, and her reader often meets with syncretism. Critically and humorously, she writes about the general economic crisis, regression-recession (for example, using a dollar sign instead of an “s”), which today contributes to the actuality of haiku/senryu poetry. She offers her reader contraposition, surprises, sudden and unpredictable ingenuity, most of which come out of her perception of the surrounding world. She presents us medical diagnosis, like a stroke, dementia, rheumatism, nightmares …
Her tanka collection contains lyrical love poems, verses about her hometown and the river Česma, associations with the sea, signs of the Chinese calendar, resentment. These works disclose Dj.V.Rožić as a sophisticated, gifted and witty person. From her tanka glisten moments of true poetic expression. They are subtle, uniform, feminine, intelligible lyrics for all times of Croatian poetry, without any affectation of modern hermetic poetry.
In her haiku poetry, Dj.V.Rožić holds on to both, the ground and the clouds: her haiku hold on to nature, grow from a moment, bring suchness, vitality, a year’s seasons free of any philosophy, explanation, interpretation. She skillfully uses words, and her verbal expression is maintained at a high poetical level. The minimalism of her haiku is reduced and rid of anything that is redundant, following antic habits - Meden Agan (nothing in excess). She follows teachings of old haiku masters – minimalism and reductionism. The haiku esthetics tends to use as fewer words as possible (small is beautiful, small is big).
In her haiku collection, Djurdja cites a dedication to Dubravko Ivančan. As early as in 1960s, Dubravko avoided the classical 5-7-5 syllable count, as does Djurdja fifty years afterwards. Her use of innovative words contributes to the quality of the collection. She follows the words of the greatest Croatian writer, MiroslavKrleža: “One should write in such a way that words are compacted and thoughts widespread”.
Djurdja has mastered this technique and has fulfilled this imperative claim imposed on haiku authors.
Each of her haiku is a reflection of an experienced event as a whole, and her words are never void of meaning.
Djurdja’s haiku have been translated into twelve languages, and a number of them have been published internationally in on- and off line journals, anthologies, and contest collections.
Generally speaking, this literary triptych places D.V.Rožić to the top of Croatian poetry production. She follows her original path (Tao), stylistically, a Zen-beaten way, in search of the best solutions. I’m certain she has won her place under the Sun in a strong world competition.
Translation: Djurdja Vukelić Rožić