Vladimir Martinovski

Vladimir Martinovski


Vladimir Martinovski (Skopje, 1974) is a poet, story teller, essayist, literary critic and translator. He works as a full professor at the Department of General and Comparative Literature at the Blaže Koneski Faculty of Philology in Skopje. He is the author of the following works of poetry: Sea Moon (2003), Hidden Poems (2005), And Water and Earth and Fire and Air (2006), Quartets (2010), Hurry Up and Wait (2011), Before and After the Dance (2012), Real Water (2014), Inner Mountains (2016) and Dream and Awake Poems (2017). He has published three collections of haibuns: An Echo of Waves (2009), Cat in the Mist (2016) and Sky Without Stars (2016), as well as one poetry book for children Dum spiro spero (2019). His poetry has been translated and published in twenty different languages. He is a winner of the following literary awards: “Brothers Miladinovci” (for poetry), “Nova Makedonija” (for short fiction) and “Dimitar Mitrev” (for literary criticism).


When you’re gone, I suddenly turn into a sunflower without the sun,

In a book without letters, home without doors, rain without drops,

A double bass with no strings, a tricycle without the front wheel,

A clock without hands, a verse without an ancient metric foot,

Into chocolate without the cocoa, a city with no boulevard,

A giraffe without a neck, an orchestra with no conductor,

A condor without feathers, a street without a footway,

Into a sculpture with neither a head nor a pedestal.

When you’re gone, I’m a nut without the kernel,

A bee without a drop of honey, or a selfish

Little cricket that’s misplaced its violin.

And when I’m with you, I’m merely

A man who conceals so readily

All the things he used to be.


Inspired by a black

and white photograph

from the Museum of

Photography in Paris

The Father

is missing

He probably never

liked to have his picture taken

(or maybe he’s hiding

behind the camera)

The Mother

is also missing

She probably got tired

of posing without her husband

(or maybe she’s in the kitchen

or in front of a mirror)

The children

are also missing

The son could be in the army

or lives with his in-laws,

the daughter could be

living somewhere overseas

The grandfather

is also missing

(He has, probably, long ago

departed from this world)


that’s why the grandmother

holds                      the old

family                 portrait   

just like           mothers

hold their      baby      

or kids     hold

their doll


My wife with eyes full of water to drink in prisons

André Breton

Lost in a labyrinth of stalls

at a huge Beijing street market

I thought of the taxi driver’s wise words

God probably made

this World, but all else

is made in China!

 “And sold at this market” –

I thought, gazing at the mountains

of luxury goods fakes

that can be bought here

for a handful of yuans. I happened

to grab a meadow green

alpinist jacket by a world famous

brand. To convince me

to buy it on the cheap

and as a proof that it’s waterproof,

the lady behind the stall spilled

her glass of water all over the jacket.

Couple of drops hit me on the forehead,

The rest slid gracefully on the floor.

The water is real! – she pointed.

I bought the jacket which has served me since

not only for mountain treks. I wear it

at events where I have to brave mountains

of empty flattery and pats on the back.

I wear it when surrounded by false prophets

and preacher that teach us daily:

Hate the whole world, especially

thy neighbour, cause certainly

they hate you much more!

I wear this fake jacket as a bulletproof

vest against the barrage of lies.

I wear it when I watch the news.

I wear it as a living reminder

that many things are indeed fake,

but you are real like the water that I drink.

(Translated from Macedonian: Milan Damjanoski)