Tanja Bakic- Montenegro

Tanja Bakic- Montenegro

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Podgorica-based Montenegrin poet, literary translator and music writer, Tanja Bakić, is currently pursuing a PhD in English Literature, specializing in the works of the British Romantic poet and painter William Blake. She was a visiting researcher at Harvard University. She was twice a speaker at William Blake colloquium at the Tate Britain in London. She authored a chapter in The reception of William Blake in Europe published by Bloomsbury in 2019. She was the winner of the Central European Initiative Fellowship Prize in Literature in 2016. Her other fellowships come from: Ministry of Science of Montenegro, Modern Humanities Research Association, International House of Authors in Graz (Austria), Slovenian Public Fund for Cultural Activities, Forum of Slavic Cultures, Traduki (Berlin-based European network for literature) in Novo mesto and in Tirana, etc. She was twice chosen by the international board of art critics for the Montenegrin representative at the Biennial of the Artists of Europe and Mediterranean – in Milan (2015) and in Ancona (2013). She has been an invited guest at various international poetry festivals, and has served several international AiR programmes. Her poetry has been translated into some 20 foreign languages through magazines and anthologies, such as: Modern Literature, Rochford Street Review, Words Without Borders, Recours au Poème, Bosphorus Review of Books, Trafika Europe, Arbolarium, Antologia poética de los cinco continents (Buenos Aires: Editorial echarper, 2019), Capitals (New Delhi: Bloomsbury, 2017) World Haiku (Tokyo: World Haiku Association, 2016), Voix de la Méditeranée (La passe du vent, 2012), and the like.  She is chosen by the Australian poet Les Wicks among only sixteen writer across the globe to “bring something unique to the world poetry movement“.

She produced 4 poetry volumes – the first of which was published when she was 15 years old –which received numerous critical accolades. Her most recent published poetry translation work into Montenegrin is Landing Light by the award-winning Scottish poet, Don Paterson (2018). Her latest musical non-fiction work is Brian Jones i njegov bend (Brian Jones and His Band, 2019), featuring her interview with Michael Lindsay Hogg, who directed promotional films for the Rolling Stones.

Tanja Bakić, Poems

***

The leaves have

Fallen again.

Under a star

Naked I stand.

Blood yours

And blood mine –

That’s me –

Your seed,

Your breath, your sky.

But I wish now

I were your only star.

***

An open wound

Under the hot earth

Calls me out.

I look at the sky

With another’s eyes.

A star like an eyeball

Stares at me.

I leave behind

What I once used

To be.

And keep my pain.

Velvet I am now.

***

The secret of her tear

Hides in her wish

To escape the light.

The light sullies her,

Wrenches the tear

From its roots,

Taints it with the world.

***

Where Are We at Now?

You spoke to me in my dream

In those wee hours of the morning

Waking me from the nightmare

In which I had long dwelt.

Outside, big snowflakes were

Falling, turning ever fluffier

Tangling the invisible threads of the wind,

Wiping away the traces of sleeplessness.

I knew you were

About to tell me something,

Looking for me,

Wanting to see me.

But I don’t even know

Whether you still exist or not.

I erased you from my memories

And buried you on the crumbs

Of my past life.

Where’re we at now, you and me both?

Did we hide

Under the leaves of the sunken city

Or were we both fooled

By the game

Of ending and disappearing

That we forgot

That life still

Tastes of dregs,

That ice is black,

And light is sea-coloured?

Where’re we at now

After strolling

Under the moonlight,

After diving

Under the dregs of the water?

I can’t even remember what

Message you gave me in my dream,

Nor what it stirred then

Inside me,

But I think that

The tone of your voice

Is deeper than all

The oceans and seas

And that with ease

It crossed a scarlet bridge

From my pain to yours.

I went back to my dream

And headed towards you

Through the dead ends of labyrinths

From the same nightmare

You stirred me from

That snow-covered morning

With your eyes wide shut

And brought me back to reality.

I desired to dive

Into your arms and wipe away

The dust from your heart.

But you were sleeping.

I also desired

To tell you something, but…

The moment you wake up

And open your 

Darkened eyes,

I want you to remove

The snow from my eyes

For a new pain

That will be

Louder than my own,

For a new stillness

That will be more silent than mine.

For a new death

That will be stronger than me.

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