Gustav Mahler – Symphony 4, Opatija

gustav mahler opatija

Gustav Mahler was amongst the many great composers, artists, celebrities, nobility and royalty who spent their holidays resting and finding inspiration on the Opatija Riviera. During one of his stays he composed his Symphony No. 4 and this was the basis of this unique exhibition put together by the Croatian Museum of Tourism. Director of the museum Gabrijela Krmpotić Kos researched and uncovered many details of his stay and they provide a superb insight into his compositions, reputation and life. The exhibition is part of the ongoing ‘Famous Guests in Opatija’ series.

This is another excellent exhibition which I was proud to be part of as the English translator. More information here.

On Winged Wheels to Opatija’s Riviera

On Winged Wheels to Opatija’s Riviera – 145th anniversary of the building of the Vienna – Opatija – Rijeka and the Budapest – Rijeka railway and 110th anniversary of Opatija’s tramway is an extensive and fascinating exhibition by the Croatian Museum of Tourism being held in Opatija’s famous Villa Angiolina until June 2019.

The arrival of the railway and the electric tramway meant the rapid development of tourism in Opatija and the whole region. The exhibition details every step of the construction, implementation and running of the whole system even including human stories of the workers, drivers and the local people involved.

This is another excellent project which I am glad to have been involved as the English translator, working on the exhibition texts and promotional materials.

You can find more info here.
Plus a report by HRT TV here.

Karl Kaser – Pictures of the Adriatic Coast

Another superb exhibition by the Croatian Museum of Tourism in Opatija which featured the stunning photographs of Karl Kaser. Until recently the Croatian public was unaware of the photographic archive of the Viennese lawyer Karl Kaser in which, thanks to his diligent descendants, there are over four hundred preserved photographic motifs of the Croatian Adriatic coast taken in the last decade of the 19th century and first decade of the 20th. On 208 pages the images offer a glimpse into a bygone era and feature almost every aspect of life on the Adriatic coast of over 100 years ago. With extensive text written by Mirjana Kos, it has been published as a three-language edition (Croatian, German and English).

The catalogue has hundreds of unique images.

I am very happy to have been involved in the English translation of this marvellous book.

You can find more info about the collection and exhibition here

ISBN 978-953-7601-64-5

Dr Karl Kaser – self-portrait

Janko Polić Kamov – Dan mrtvih

Janko Polić Kamov – Dan mrtvih – Day of the Dead

Janko Polić Kamov had two collections of his poetry published during his short lifetime (1886-1910). ‘Psovka’ (‘The Curse’) in 1907 and ‘Ištipana hartija’ (‘The Pinched Paper’) in 1907.

kamov psvoka cover‘Psovka‘ contains nine pieces of poetic discourse including themes of blasphemy, love and sex, nature, surrealism, the human condition and basic instincts.
These poems have never been fully translated into English.

Here is my translation of one piece from ‘Psovka‘ entitled ‘Dan mrtvih’.

Day of the Dead


I took a pilgrimage, to the dead, to you and look, my soul is not sorrowful;
my thought is not of despair – oh the universe is not cruel.

I would sing psalms and sadden people;
my accusation would be the charge of nature, and the people would be the guilty;
shy as a prayer, distorted as Christ, holy as the air of the church.
Godly is their fear and headless as a flock of sheep;
it is like the mania of the hungry and the dread of slaves;
fear is their crime and misdoing is their child.

Damp earth, the sun’s rays kiss you and heavenly drops caress you:
woman of milky breasts and secrets of love;
woman of fiery verses and love of a heavenly betrothed.
Divine are your children and green is their name;
joyful are your children and birds are their strings;
fragrant are your children and the breeze is their song;
you are just a village girl and you have no city colours;
full is your body and love is its penchant;
your soul is like a body:
you are all harmony, you are all beauty as eternal truth.

But a man lunged:

your body is beaten and a curse is your blessing;
syphilis of bones and rottenness of the lungs is your sustenance;
a dead member is your love and your cross is green;
decay are your strings and grief is your chord –
tolling are tears – oh dead is your betrothed and your children are worms.

A depository of waste and decay, of man’s great crime;
mute is your accusation, whipped flesh;
bitter is your judgement, violated virgin;
devastating is your tragedy like death and your pain has no measure.
The pen is my trumpet:
dark are your acts, oh you dead;
dark as the love of Socrates and repulsive as the body of an ascetic;
mighty are your misdoings and there is no forgiveness for them;
there is no forgiveness for them and your die has been rolled;

dead are your souls – dead is the resurrection!

The pen is my trumpet and the universe its echo;
eternity smiles – the earth has not died;
the crosses break and time destroys the graves –
wanton is my poem: that the living live!


All rights reserved to this translation © Martin Mayhew

More Kamov in English here

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‘Farces & Novellas’ a new collection of English translations of 12 short stories – the first ever English language ebook of Kamov’s works is now available on Amazon and other sellers – more info here


Kanfanar monograph

First monograph of Kanfanar Municipality

The first ever monograph dedicated to the municipality of Kanfanar in Istria was published in September 2018. It is a superb trilingual (HR, IT, ENG) hardback book featuring the history, people, settlements and customs, the beautiful landscapes, agriculture and food, the industry and the attractions of this municipality which is celebrating 25 years since its establishment. The authors are Marko Jelenić, Ivana Maružin and Dragan Ogurlić (editor). The texts are accompanied by top quality photography and I am proud to have been involved in the translation of such an excellent edition.

Hardback 170 pages with fold-out dust jacket.
26cm x 26cm
ISBN: 978-953-8180-07-7
Published by Naklada Val – more info here

Kako čitati prostorni plan

How to read a spatial plan

kako citati prostorni plan korzo‘Kako čitati prostorni plan’ is a new exhibition on Rijeka’s Korzo which explains the intricacies of spatial planing in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. Written and produced by the Zavod za prostorno uređenje Primorsko-goranske županije it is a major effort to explain the importance of environmental planning to the general public of the county, which itself is celebrating 25 years of its foundation.

Over 10 boards of 20 panels, it explains the history, development, current status and importance of spatial planning in the county.

I am very honoured to have been in involved in the translation of such an important and interesting project about the county in which I live.

The exhibition on Rijeka’s Korzo runs until 12.10.2018 and all the online information in English is available here.

Ivo Kalina – monograph

Ivo Kalina – monograph translation

I am honoured to have been involved in the translation of this monograph of the famous Croatian artist Ivo Kalina (1925-1995). It is lavishly illustrated with his works of art from all periods of his life. The texts were written by Berislav Valušek, Ervin Dubrović and Milan Bešlić.
The monograph accompanies the retrospective exhibition of his work being shown in Volosko at Galerije Gal

More info

Published by Hrvatski muzej turizma – HRMT (The Croatian Museum of Tourism), Opatija, 2018
372 pages
ISBN: 978-953-7601-65-2

Janko Polić Kamov – Farces & Novellas


My first book of my translations of Janko Polić Kamov’s work is now available on Amazon and all major ebook channels… Apple, Nook, Kobo, Kindle….

The Beard – Brada
In The Country – Selo
Woman – Žena
The Disaster – Katastrofa
The Suit – Odijelo
The Earthquake – Potres
The Bedbug – Stjenica
‘A Confession’ – ‘Ispovijest’


‘Ecce homo!’
Grief – Žalost
Freedom – Sloboda

ebook: ISBN: 978-1-912643-16-5
Printed edition ISBN: 978-1717088611

++Thank you to all those who helped and supported me in completing this important work 🙂 ++

Press clipping from Novi List 02.06.2018

Novi list – članak

Interview for Radio Rojc about Kamov, the book and publishing, in English here


IKON – Journal of Iconographic Studies no.9

The 2016 edition – volume 9 of IKON – the annual journal of iconographic studies published by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka. This is a high quality, beautifully illustrated, publication examining the religious iconography of paintings, murals and ecclesiastical art history. It was my pleasure to work with the editor, Marina Vicelja-Matijašić, again in the proofreading of the English translations in this issue.

Loneliness of the Long-Haul Translator

The Loneliness of the Long-Haul Translator

It’s August, 36 degrees outside. I’m sitting in a darkened room in front of my computer translating a hundred, thousand, maybe a million pages – I don’t know how many. I’m the only person in the building. My cat spends more time outside than I do – he looks surprised from his lazy position on the wall if I step outside into the garden. No email, no chats, no ništa. All my clients have gone on their holidays, to the coast, to their relatives – I’m holding all their translation commitments, their project applications and editors’ demands in my darkened room. It’s a public holiday, you say? They mean nothing to me any more, nor weekends. I sense the people over the road having a barbeque. I only smell their grilled meat and cigarettes. I hear their loud swearing and crappy music, I’ve never had any idea who they are or what they look like. I’ll go to the beach later and I bet I’ll forget my bloody towel again like I did yesterday and take the bus home in my swimming trunks, soaking wet.

Martin Mayhew, Rijeka, August 2016