Janko Polić Kamov – Lacerba, 1913

In the 15th June 1913 issue of the Italian literary journal ‘Lacerba’ there appeared a page of maxims entitled ‘Accenni’ attributed to one ‘Gian Paolo’.

‘Lacerba’ was published in Florence from 1913-1915, edited by Giovanni Papini and was associated with the emerging Futurist movement. This particular issue amongst others also featured pieces by leading figures such as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Ardengo Soffici, Max Jacob and even an illustration by Pablo Picasso.

Kamov’s text appeared alongside the works of Pablo Picasso, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Ardengo Soffici.

Vladimir Čerina, an exponent of Kamov, was also a contributer. It was most likely under his auspices that these fragments of Kamov’s maxims were included under the pseudonym of ‘Gian Paolo’, in ‘Lacerba’ in 1913 three years after his death. Čerina had alluded to their publication in his study of Kamov published earlier in the same year, although they were not properly authenticated until the mid-1980s by Tonko Maroević and Dragutin Tadijanović.

***

Gian Paolo – Accenni

translated by Martin Mayhew from the Croatian translations of Tonko Maroević

A good way to forgive someone who is angry at us because of some non-existent insult is to really insult them.

If a man just wants to grow old and remain permanently healthy there is no more useful exercise nor better exposure to the fresh air than begging.

The greatest number of fatherly and nitpicker’s advice resembles the sign on certain entrances: “Closed”, and which cannot be read when the door is open and the doorframe is up against the wall.

Within human contradictions there already exists man’s belief that there are none.

I was infuriated by of the noises that people were making below my window and I only fell asleep again when I found out that they were horses.

On one foot life wears a cothurnus, whilst on the other a clown’s slipper.

The one who is carrying the lamp will stumble sooner than the one who is following him.

The wheel of fortune transports the upright but breaks the bones of the recumbent.

I cannot imagine anything more insane than our life, our Earth, our people and our comprehension of this insanity.

The ancient, incurable cancer of philosophy: contrary to the misconception of ordinary people who believe that they understand something just because they see it, it, however, assumes that it sees something just by thinking about it.

At the moment of death there is no more extravagance because death is the ultimate extravagance.

Dying one doesn’t recognise the present only the future and the past.

In their most sublime notions philosophers always describe a single circular line; I however happily note their arrangements as architects mark the lavatories on the ground plan of some building, it’s like a circle with a dash… Each one has a dash which serves as a handle.

I (perceived empirically) detest myself (perceived absolutely), the dreadful demagogue who resides inside me.

If decapitation did not deprive life, nobody would worry about it.

Man’s eternal hunger, the insatiableness of his heart, does not seek more abundant food but more varied, in other words, it wants a meal instead of just grazing.

To a dumb animal the world represents a unique impression, and in the absence of two it doesn’t even know to count to one.

Spiritual beings are similar to the physical who, according to the opinion of ancient Romans, had to touch the Earth in order to learn how to speak.

It is easier to sacrifice oneself for people than to love them.

Clothes are a weapon which beauties fight with; and, like soldiers, they discard them as soon as they are defeated.

Great spirits begin to despise themselves first of all.

Rather than his duty man does more than his duty.

The greatest blessing of philosophy is not that it makes us happy when we are in distress but when we are happy.

If Miss Robinson Crusoe found herself on a deserted island with no one else but her own reflection in the water, she would nevertheless make and wear the latest fashionable clothes every day.

****

Translation – all rights reserved © Martin Mayhew

Note: The 15th June 1913 issue of ‘Lacerba’ can be found for sale on the Internet and I have only come across the front page and not the page featuring Kamov’s ‘Accenni’. If a copy is available I would very much like to see it in order to compare and back translate the Italian versions with the Croatian, and therefore improve my English versions.

Janko Polić Kamov – Edgar Allan Poe

Janko Polić Kamov – Poe

Translated by Martin Mayhew

Turgenjev brings tears to our eyes; Maupassant tickles our lips; Poe makes our hair stand on end: the first grabs us by the heartstrings, the second by the spirit, the third by the nerves.

Tears, a smile and a chill – those are their comments, and not erudition. Because erudition is just the comment of comments and one hair of a sensitive intellectual is more competent in the understanding of Poe, than all the dissertations of bald professors.

To me Poe appears like an ominous bird, which has flown over the mute field of our inner self; and when it plunged somewhere into space, it left a shadow of its great, black wings behind itself. Or even like the memory of a cat’s eyes in the dark; of a dog’s tucked under tail on a deserted road; of a snake’s tongue on a scorched cliff; of the ridge of a dolphin on an oily surface and of the shadows of the deceased that pull us by the legs in a dream.

And this is why Poe is mysterious – because of the fear irrational like all beauty and mysticism, living buried in the hands of our psyche, where in the glory of the Absurd they were also born.

Poe’s life was quite miserable so even a Croatian literate could envy him. He was born in Baltimore[1], in the North American state of Maryland[2], which we only know about because of tobacco. He was educated in England; he attended university in America, causing trouble, until they drove him out. He went to Greece, to fight for freedom like Lord Byron, and some would say that he also went Saint Petersburg like Stjepan Radić. He returned to America and enrolled at the war academy, but instead of a general he just became – a journalist. His foster father died not leaving him two pennies to rub together, because on account of his boozing he was not worthy of his charity. He published a collection of poems – which went unnoticed. He became well-known only with the tale ‘MS. Found in a Bottle’, which secured him the prize as “the first of geniuses, who had written legibly”. From then on he worked at other people’s journals always imagining an independent newspaper, about which we know not, whether he had in mind to call it The Rooster or something else. He married his cousin Virginia, who then died of consumption.

Whereupon he hit the bottle, even joining the “temperance society” like all alcoholics. He was engaged for a second time, however the engagement was called off, and aged 40 they found him at the door of one drinking den penniless, with no baptismal certificate and incoherent. And as such he died in hospital in a state of “delirium tremens”.

*

Aubrey Beardsley’s portrait of Poe.

Poe’s drunkenness has already become universally known and is more popular here today than his works. However this is does not surprise us, being that the English breed is also very well-known for its “totality of inebriation”. It is known that Shakespeare was a drunk, about whom it is still not known today whether he “as such” even existed at all. And maybe the actor Edmund Kean too was a drunk just because of an anecdote, which they circulated about him.

However, Poe himself also wrote somewhere: “science has not yet shown nor proven, whether all of this is eminently and deeply the consequence of mental illness”.[3] Whilst his exponent Charles Baudelaire: “A part of that, which today makes up, when we read Poe, our pleasure, killed him”. Did therefore this poet of the death rattle and horror, of living graves and corpses look into the glass for inspiration or oblivion – the enjoyment of vulgarity or the pleasures of the aesthetes?

It is a question, which can quite duly remain a question. However, this alcoholic has not one rakija drinker’s, compassionate little tear; not one shouter’s tendency of our tendentiously moral and drunken Croatia.

And even if his stories are like an event of fantasy, nevertheless they are narrated with a devastating logic and realism, which also makes up – at least for us – the essence of Poe’s art: i.e. Poe also uncovers the logic of the absurd – and hands us his fantasies like a verist.

Alphonse Legros – Illustration for ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ 1861

How and why did Berenice’s teeth become ideas? Because Egaeus sees only them, he senses only them and thinks only about them. Is this not really the palpable logic of all fixed ideas?… Yet when that prisoner (‘The Pit and the Pendulum’) sees, how the deadly scythe descends to cut him in half like a saveloy, he is amused with the thought, what kind of sound might be produced in his auditory nerve – the slitting of the cloth… But this is such a simple psychological verism that really each and every man is able to experience it. Because you don’t exactly have to be under the pressure of a deadly scythe, to come to such a thought: you could also be under the pressure of diarrhoea, that drives you down the street and you are afraid of its effect like a prisoner is of death… So, you count the windows and storeys or you are entertained by the smell, that is already touching your nose…

Illustration for Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’ by Aubrey Beardsley, from Brighton, England. Click on pic for link to all his drawings.

The hero of ‘The Black Cat’ starts an evil deed, for which Poe has just a couple for lines; yet one feeling or thought before the act or after the act he describes over pages… Just as every deed (we can identify that with our most ordinary loves) – has its “maximum” of the spiritual life and psychological analysis in that “ante” and “post” – in motives and reflections – whilst in the very act – its “minimum”. However, when the same hero of ‘The Black Cat’ or ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ considers on the spot all the circumstances, he proves just that, that in great moments our intellect (like reasoning and calculation) in momentary ecstasy and tension just so, because our soul is, like emotion and feeling, absent. And so intellect can act and work – unconscionably.

 

 

Beardsley’s drawing for ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Click on pic for more.

And the sounds, that manifest in the howling of the whirlwind, that swirls around Usher’s house – the sounds of darkness, mysteries and graves – and the beating of a heart buried in a carcass under the wooden floor (‘The Tell-Tale Heart’), which is getting stronger, always stronger – all of these sounds in all of their monstrous potentiality to us as to normal people are also all too well known. That the silence echoing in our ears like the clatter of cargo wagons and that that echo gets noisier the quieter we are – everyone knows, who has tried to listen to – the silence. And the man, who sings in seclusion at night at the top of his voice, thus drowning out only the echoes, which they fear with his sense of hearing coming from our bottomless soul. So that one also sees the fantasy, who looks into the darkness and inevitably reveals the logic of the absurd, if he has not absolutely peered into Đuro Arnold’s ‘Logic’ and ‘Psychology’.

These few random examples (and the book is full of all of them) become even more remarkable, when we place them under Poe’s artistic credo: that “modern – educational fiction” is namely the main heresy. And because Poe also had an artist’s conscience and an artist’s disposition, he did not infect his stories with tendentiousness and instructiveness, which makes a street poster of art, where that painted monkey with the painted bottle makes an advertisement for Volani Refosco and lye.

Poster for Volani’s Lye (Volanijeva-lužina)

So, today Poe is more modern than ever. His “art of nerves for nerves” has perhaps paved those paths where French poetry has gone with such elegance, which is generally called “symbolism”. That poetry, namely, full more with sensitivity than feelings, more taciturn and less emotional, which being scared and crying has written verses pale, gentle and hazy like the mists, that obscure our eyes, our mountains and our universe… However, Poe spent more time being scared than crying.

Poe was frightening. And so he also paved newer ways, down which that dramatist André de Lorde is going, this – what’s his name Albert Sorel – “the distiller of anxiety and the alchemist of uneasiness”, and Henri de Régnier “the terrorist”. And in this frightening and terrifying Poe’s tears probably drowned in a torrent of deathly sweat.

Poe has remained the poet of fear.

So as Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević captured a tear with the vulgar alcoholics and everyday spinsters of literature for those who still have no moustaches nor stomachs; as Chekhov captured laughter with the Auguste clowns and cinema of literature for those, who long ago had already grown both moustaches and a stomach – so Poe captured the horror in religion and the circus and from it made an artistic sensation, which everyone might enjoy, if they have that “artist’s ability”, which “ages” our old and young – as they consciously and arrogantly only emphasise – they don’t have!

Punat, 7.IV.1910

[1] Boston
[2] Massachusetts
[3] “science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence”.

Translation – all rights reserved © Martin Mayhew

NB: Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898) was an illustrator and author, born in Brighton, England.

England to India by automobile, via Fiume in 1924

FROM ENGLAND TO INDIA BY AUTOMOBILE
An 8,527-mile Trip Through Ten Countries, from London to Quetta, Requires Five and a Half Months
BY MAJOR F.A.C. FORBES-LEITH

extract: THE FIUME “LIONS” OF ITALY’S POET SOLDIER

Our next stop was at Fiume, the scene of the coup of Gabriele d’Annunzio, Italy’s poet patriot. It is also a fine port, but a mean city in comparison with Trieste. A narrow river separates it from Susak, the Yugoslavian frontier town.

An impressive sight in the city was the great number of apparently idle young men with shock heads of hair fluffed out like a lion’s mane. We thought this must be the latest thing in Fiume masculine styles until an English-speaking friend explained that this is the hall mark of d’Annunzio’s “lions,” who, with him, captured the city.

We were warned not to upset any of them, as they have the reputation of being excessively irascible and a law unto themselves.

After a night in Fiume, we crossed the frontier bridge to Yugoslavia. The incredible change made by those few yards is impossible to imagine – a jump from stagnation and slackness to hurry and bustle.

The only place into which the general energy had not penetrated was the customhouse. We had a letter of introduction to the chief revenue officer, who told us that, as a great favour, they would rush us through the formalities. The “rush” required six hours to deal with our small outfit!

The officials seemed to like our company. As soon as the papers were passed to a fresh clerk, he would come and have a friendly chat with us on European politics, our trip, and, in fact, anything but the business concerned. They were so cheery and genial that we could not take offense; so we smoked endless cigarettes and waited.

Overland from England to India in late 1924 by Major Forbes-Leith. Here seen in Baghdad on 20th August 1924.

EVERY VILLAGE CAFE IN YUGOSLAVIA HAS ITS ORCHESTRA

We were now in a new kingdom, a charming country of delightful, music-loving people. Every little village café has its orchestra of young men playing the guitar and mandolin, and accompanied by a trio or quartette of girl singers. The former stand and play; the latter sit in a row in front and sing national songs from dusk to midnight.

The Croats and Serbs are fine fellows of good physique, very hard workers, great patriots, and among the finest soldiers in the world. Serbia, before the World War, was spoken of as a little Balkan state; now she must be reckoned as a power in Europe.

At Agram (Zagreb), the capital of Croatia, formerly part of the old Austrian Empire, we had a shock that made us rub our eyes. In front of us at the first crossroad, was the embodiment of an English policeman, with helmet, uniform, and baton complete. We heard afterward that the whole police force of the city was modeled and trained on British lines, even uniforms being supplied by outfitters in England.

In atmosphere, architecture, and general plan, Agram is a miniature Vienna. It has a fine opera house, and the architecture is for the most part typically Austrian.

Living is very cheap here for the man who carries either the pound sterling or the dollar.

*******

The trip was made in 1924 and published by The National Geographic Magazine August 1925.

There was even a cameraman on the trip and there exists footage – called ‘Lure of the East’ of some of the trip available here on the British Pathe archives website. And on Vimeo – watch at 1:00 and you’ll see a Zagreb copper: https://vimeo.com/45439980

Thanks to Saša Dmitrović for the source material.

Hrvatska mlada lirika

hrvatska-mlada-lirika-1914A superb new addition to my collection. An original copy from June 1914 of Hrvatska mlada lirika which features work by Ivo Andrić, Vladmir Čerina, Vilko Gabarić, Fran Galović, Karlo Hausler, Zvonko Milković, Stjepan Parmačević, Janko Polić Kamov, Nikola Polić, Augustin Ujević, Milan Vrbanić and Ljubo Wiesner.

Janko Polić Kamov – sabrana djela

All four original volumes of Kamov’s work, with dust jackets. Published by the ‘Otokar Keršovani’ publishing company in Rijeka. Edited by Dragutin Tadijanović, artwork by Miljenko Stančić.
Vol. 1 – Pjesme, novele i lakrdije 1956
Vol. 2 – Isušena Kaljuža 1957
Vol. 3 – Drame 1957
Vol. 4 – Članci i feljtoni – pisma 1958
Kamov sabrana djela

Lirika Janka Polića-Kamova 1921

kamov-kritika-1921Kritika – književno umjetnička revija – January 1921 edition contains part one of this essay about Janko Polić Kamov’s poetry by his brother Nikola Polić.

LIRIKA JANKA POLIĆA – KAMOVA

  1. PLAMENI STIHOVI.

„Ja sam plamen, ja sam mač“. (Heinrich Heine)

Još prije dvanaest i više godina — kao i danas — bili su stihovi Janka Polića – Kamova predmetom čudjenja i izrugivanja baš one štampe, najširoko-grudnije pa i prama najmladjima. Stihovi ovi, još uvijek neotkriveni, uranili su prije zore u crnom, ponornom i ponoćnom kliktaju vječno neumorne, vječno žedne i vječno nesretne duše. Sudbina svih iskrenih pjevača. Sivi, tmurni je albatros to poletio grozničavim platnom razderanog neba, ne pazeći na pravilni i ma­tematski lijet aeroplana. Za to su mnogi kazali: Evo ptice, koja leti loše!

Daleko prije Krleže, njegovih simfonija i njegovih nasljedovatelja živio je kod nas jedan — nazovimo ga tako, akoprem netačno — intelektualni, individualni, pa makar i aristokratski boljševik, Spartakus par exellence, raz­likujući se od današnjih time, što u ono vrijeme ne bijaše ultrarevolucionarnost u književnosti moda, šablona i reklama.

Tada se radjala — odvojena od nacionalizma — hrvatska, upravo zagrebačka moderna, pod protektoratom Velikog Meštra Augusta Drugog, koja je dala nepismenoj našoj javnosti nekoliko odličnih i gotovih književnih profila. Ta čisto lirska Plejada, zanešena i besprikorna, umjerena i tiha, nenasrtljiva i nereklamna, pjevala je starijim ritmom, ali uvijek novim emocijama i novim senzacijama, uvijek tradicionalno vezana uz ustaljene forme, da nastavi svojim vidicima i putovima — sama, zamišljena, daleka od savremenog neukusa, bez kompromisa ali i bez zaraze. Matoš, koji je — danas to mi svi pošteno priznajemo — znatno influisao na ovu plavu i mladu radost naših dana pasjih, nije djelovao nikako na unutarnji razvitak lirike Janka Polića-Kamova, akoprem je njihov put, kao i sudbina, bio gotovo kongruentan. Konkurencija, blagorodna gospodja Jalova bila je izmedju njih bespredmetna i nemoćna. Obojica proganjana od službene, doktorske i profesorske kritike, sastali se, vodjeni podzemnim putovima čitave Evrope u Zagrebu, kod „Frankopana” dabome, a zajedničko im je bilo samo grlo i mizerija našeg tričavog i tračavog ambienta.

Grupa oko Matoša pjevala je samo lijepo i o lijepome, osvojena rezignacijom i tišinama. U lirici Janka Polića – Kamova ne osjeća se ni najtanji trag svega toga. Moglo bi se općenito reći, da on ružno pjeva o ružnome. Anacionalan i prognanik, bez doma i bez pratnje, rabiatan i krvav do srži, on nije kanda pripadnik plemena S. H. S. Grabancijaš, ali ne onaj kafana i promenada, proputovao je do svoje osamnaeste godine pola Balkana, većinom pješke, po Gorkijevom uzoru, da nakon šest godina naiđe na svoj kobni i glupavi finale tamo negdje u španskoj Barceloni, što li je?

Taj tragični skitnik bez maske nosio je po cijelom svijetu, u srcu kao i u mozgu svirepu, viseću, veliku i crnu viziju, a njegovo ostentativno komadanje duše i nerava nije bio nikad sport, literatura i danguba.

Grupa oko Matoša, otmena i izrađena, nalazila je često svoju inspiraciju u neplaćenoj bijeloj kafi i to nije vic, zaboga! I Polić – Kamov imao je svoju Muzu, manje diskretnu, ali zato vrlo, vrlo ordinarnu i brutalnu, sastojeću se od četiri prapočela svih dekadenata: duhan, alkohol, žena i histerija. Njegov su moto ova četiri stiha:

„Ja ljubim bol i patnju i gorčinu
u živoj rani!
A zaborav ću ljepšu nać’ u vinu
Neg u nirvani!“
(Strast bitka)

Alkohol je postao njegovom vitalnom potrebom, stvarajući od njega izraziti tip fiziološkog alkoličara. Svaka njegova pijača svršavaše ludim, konvulzivnim plačem, koji je ridanje, i svaka prolumpovana noć bila je jedan grč, jedna etapa, jedan fokus u ludom njegovom i bezglavom životu. Avaj, nije to rujno, rujansko, đulabijsko vino naših opjevanih Gorica! Nije to satirski, pudarski smijeh sa Vidrićevog Prekrižja i sa Haulikovog baroknog Maksimira. Nije to vino radosti, o kome pjeva Vilko Gabarić u svojem nasmijanom Vinogradu. Rakija, teška, olovna, vampirska rakija kitila je ognjenom aureolom ponorni pad njegovih ponoćnih strofa. To je lirika mȍre, što mori modra, muzička i mirna morâ. To su vizijski grčevi, okovani histeričkim plačem kao krvavi, razulareni bičevi:

„Nakvašeno, crno platno kožom
joj se zmijski svija
i kroz njega trzaj mesa u
ružičnom dahu sija.
To je žena trudnih sisâ
što sa neba sapu traži…
a morski je cjelov pljuska i grebeni nokat draži“.
(Voluptas)

Taj nas nenaravni, ali zdravi perverzitet malo zbunjuje, kad saznamo, da je to pisano u doba, kad se inače pjevaju soneti prvim naborima zaljubljenih hlača.

Samo jedna alkoholom povaljena strast kadra je rađati stihove guste i masne u embriu bolnog, bijesnog, bolesnog i bespomoćnog neutaženog užitka:

„Kroza zastor mast se cijedi ko sa smokve mast sladčine
pod raskošjem bujnog neba, po kome se priča lijeva, zalutala iz pjesama
ljiljana i cedrovine“.
(Poezija)

Pijani, crveni, krvavi i crni su to stihovi, kao boje na nekoj ustalasanoj, nemirnoj, neurednoj, burnoj i grozničavoj paleti:

„Duša dršće; to je priča zašaptala sa nebesa
u bojama, što se mijese u Gomori, na istoči,
kad se miješa karmin krvi, crno kosâ, bijelo mesa.
Duša dršće ko da akord jedna tanka struna toči
navinuta, ištipana, strašću prsti izbijena:
Bješe riječ, što se proli, klikćuć’ u šir: žena, žena!
(Poezija)

I ta pjesma (sonet) nazvana Poezija služi kao sentenca čitave te lirike, noseći u sebi sve jake karakteristike onog Polića – Kamova, koji još nije pošao na Zapad i na Jug, da svoj bujni, burni i bojovni duh smiri ironijskim rezignacijama i izigravanjem vlastitog srca. To je bila lirika bluda: čisto primarna i nejasno jasna, sa krikovima i trikovima duše što srlja, riga i pijucka.

Pjevači hrvatske mlade lirike (1908—1914) nisu nikad izravno pjevali ženi mesa, o fiziološkoj životinji i beštijici, shvatajući je tek kao kostur ili kao hostiju na oltaru svojih blijedih i bijelih vizija — i to ih je sačuvalo na pristojnoj visini, ne dajući im povoda, da se banališu i provulgare. Malo imade pjesama iz ove grupe, gdje bi fizis bio osjećaj, rima i ritam.

Drukčije je Polić-Kamov opjevao ženu, o kojoj najviše pjevaše, jer je ona meso njegovih rima i bȉlo njegovog ritma. Njegova žena ne udara nikad u pianino i ne voli da siše krv hrizantema; ne prelijeva se ona u zelenom otrovu što pada na noćno, usnulo i prigušeno svijetlo. Njegova je žena svačija i ničija, prostitutka iz najcrnjih dna života, što draži, svija, kida meso ispija mozak. To je persiflaža Turgenjevljevih Liza i Gjema, Dostojevskijevih Aglaja i Sonja; ona se približava Carmeni, crnom kriku seviljske svile i omamnom dimu Belladonna cigarete.

„Amo te ženo jeftinog mesa i skupog plača,
s haljinom trulom što vjetar snese ljudskog sred drača;
umor je zadro pospane crte na tvome oku,
a muški prsti modrice tupe po tvome boku’,
na tvome mesu svi smo mi pošli koracim’ grubim
i naše stope pričat će svijetu kako se ljubi.
(Blud duše)

„Dođi o trinaestljetna s valovljem nabrekle kože
ko koža napete svrži,
o živo takni me meso i s puti podatnom tvojom
i ovo savjesti sprži“.
(Krik)

U istom posvećenom hramu, u toj tišini tišina, sluša on krvavo golicanje bluda, grijeha i mesa:

„Orgulje bruji hramom,
a ženska grla raskvašena s poja
po njemu srču samom.
O nema stvora toga,
što ženskih struna ne bi lizno zvuka
u hramu istog Boga!“
(U hramu)

U ovim se pjesmama ništa ne retušira. Ovo je sve snimljeno na licu mjesta, u punokrvom nekom transu. Suvišak potencije, koji izbija poput čira.

Ali on nije uvijek napeto griješan. U časovima dobre volje on će zapjevati i Radičevićevim žargonom:

„O tuda prođite noškom: čarapa obijest joj zakri i none u crno zavi;
Planut će eter, kad proljet izdane požudno sapu i suknje o tijelo savi.
Šuškat će daleka priča: košuljom ovita tankom kroz goru prošla je dijeva
i tud je prosulo nebo i suze i podsmjeh i ljubav
i po njoj rosulju lijeva!”
(Nova proljet)

Samo onaj pjesnik, koji od iskona nosi povrh svih životinjskih ekscesa, u orgiji plamena, visoko gore, uvijek gore i gore jedan bludni, sveti i griješni vjeruju, kadar je da završi knjigu pjesama potresnim i ciničkim grčem poput Polića – Kamova, te svoju Golgotu krvi, požara, mesa, duše i nerava zaključuje đavoljim krstom Ridanjem jedne bludnice. Začepite uha, vi blijedi i eterni! Zakrilite oči vaše, mili i slađani! Okrenite se u grobu, vi, te u miru počivate! Pjesnik, pošto je slomio korbač na šiji glatkog i jeguljastog Snoba, pošto je pljunuo, formalno pljunuo na sve lijepe i nebeske vidokruge, te nakon što je prouzročio skandal, javnu sablazan, pada k nogama jedne jadne, ordinarne, glupe i zaražene bludnice. Ne iz prkosa, već zbog neke unutarnje, nesavladive i vizionarne ljubavi. On laže, kad se upoređuje sa Raskoljnikovom, ne iz proračunanosti, već iz samilosti prama sebi: on ljubi bludnicu, ženu na križ pribijenu, on ljubi sve ono vanzakonsko. Braća, čudna, čudna braća. Taj konačni rušeći povik nije kombinovan. Doživljeno je to, krvavo doživljeno. Crni taj liričar nije pjevao ženi obligatnim i mirisnim pervezitetom D’Annunzia iz brijačkih i modnih salona; njegovo ženstvo nije parfimisani žargon neumrlog Marcel Prevosta; nije ni pikantni sos za komije i sobarice Guy de Maupassanta. Taj gusti, masni i čemerni slador zalutao je tamo negdje sa biblijskih obala Salamunove pijane pjesme nad pjesmama. Vreli, uzavreli potok pobunjene krvi, što teče i nikad ne prestaje. Ta je dekandentska lirika — prepotentna i taj paradoks spada među aksiome, kad se citira ta neburžoaska i nesalonska lirika.

Histerija bauči i strahuje tu prekidanim i neuređenim ridanjem i izbitim, rastrganim smijehom, te siječe i reže njegove tanane, fine, ženske i razbludne usnice. Jedno nemirno sunce vise pred tim crnim Bosjakom, te poput Stanka Vraza ne poznavaše kompromisa između pjesme i života. Život je pjesma, pjesma je život. Dok i današnji književnici posjeduju spašenu životnu egzistenciju, Janko Polić – Kamov nije bio niti korektor. U pjesmi je živio, pjevajući kroz cijeli život nonšalansom La Fontaineovog cvrčka. Pitanje hrane, novca, odijela, stana i kuće bilo je tako daleko od njega, pa pošto je izdurao i najjadnije dane, plašila ga je samo pomisao na mir, dom i sitost.

Tom pjesniku, dalekom od svih koterija i škole, osporavahu pravo pjevanja, upućivajući ga na novinarstvo, na fejton, na bablju republiku. Po shvatanju kritičara, bilo je to njegovo „pravo polje rada”. Koliko kuriozne gluposti i stupidnog prenemaganja bogom nadahnute i na čast doktora promovirane kritike. Još i danas nekoji kritičari drže i Matoša lošim pjesnikom, držeći se valjda one „kritičar je gospodin koji se pokadšto miješa u ono, u što se ne razumije”. (S. Mallarmè.)

Polić-Kamov dao je svoje najpersonalnije, najkamovskije radove upravo u lirici, ne imajući preteča, počevši od sebe samoga. Ta elipsa bila je bez fokusa i jakost izraza njegovog stiha nije ni manja ni slabija ni providnija od najjačih verzova S. S. Kranjčevića, nadmašivši i autora Mramorne Venere svojim rapsodijama na prebitoj harfi (S gladi, Sunce, Dan gospodnji i t. d.)

U stvaranju silno nejednak, kao oluja što nosi na svome krilu tišinu i grom, on će nakon sadističkog buncanja zabugariti bukoličkom finesom razmaženog i suptilnog pjevača:

„Pod sunčanom krošnjom od zlatnijeg granja
Ko prašak im zlaćani list —
Poneso se smiješak što cjelove pruža,
a cjelov i draškav i čist.
I zadrhta atmos što pobud raznosi
i poljupce baca ko lud
i reko bi: negdje s plamtećega boštva
talasa se nečija grud.
(Nova Proljet)

Nije li to — čudno — kristalna slika vedrine i krajobraza:

„Cisto je nebo ko djetinja sanja
ko crno s ptičijih oči;
a sunce s dražesti mirisnu blagost
kroz oblak modrine toči“.
(Nova Proljet)

Ali tih svijetlih momenata ima malo kod njega.

Velika je griješka, upravo znak katastrofalnog i fatalnog neshvatanja, što gotovo svi nazrijevahu u njegovim stihovima ideju, tendensu i uvodni članak za anarhistična glasila. Pjesma ne pozna ideje, pa bila ta ideja i najbizarnija. Pjesma je samo izraz — kap sunca ili kap otrova. U pjesmi je Bog ili Ahasver. Metafizika ili rusvaj. Pjesma može biti plava, modra, crna, crvena, siva, ljubičasta, ali nikad komunistički — crvena, anarhistički — crna, nacionalno — trikolorna, naivno — plava i t. d. Takve pjesme uopće nema, a onaj, koji traži utilitarski ili revolucionarni monstrum u poeziji, neka traži i halbcilinder na olimpijskoj i prozirnoj glavi Monne Lise. Pjesma je tu radi pjesme, a žalosne su ambicije onih, čije stihovi imadu zadaću, da ruši sisteme. To su stvari Tolstoja, Lenjina, Radića, Bogumila i prvih kršćana.

*
*     *

Ispitana Hartija i tragični psaltir Psovka natrpani su abisnom bujnošću jedne crne, otrovane, beskućne i besnene lirike, koja nikad, vaj nikad ne zna za samotne i tihe senzacije uspavanih, muzičkih soba, kad pianino šuti i žuti se miris muti u miru zlaćanih mušica, u odsjevu slika i u bolovima strasnog jorgovana. Taj Ahasver sekundirao je moguće i besvijesno Cvijeću zla, samo što mu manjka linija, mjera i zlatni rez Bauderaireove strašne i tanane, muzičke ruke, koja će istim zamahom pogladiti zelenu kosu i savinuti gvozdenu šipku. Mi nemamo ni danas simpatičnih nasljedovatelja te poezije, koja je sakrivena u nas. Marjanović ga je jedini bez viclanja primio u ono vrijeme, prigovarajući mu ipak rimama, izrazu, stilu, dikciji („Suvremenik“ 1907.) ne znajući, da ovo nije knjiga za sladokusce, te da u tim stihovima nema spomenarske, secesionističke, donhuanske i zlatousne vibracije Xeres de la Maraja, monumentalne i dosadne širine Vl. Nazora i usiđeličkih suza Mihovila Nikolića i D.D. Domjanića.

Polić-Kamov nije kumovao mirnoj, modroj lirici, koja smatra svaki stih jednom cjelinom, jednom gotovom vizijom, jednim savršenim i svršenim unutarnjim titrajem, ukratko: jednom kombinaciom. Mirna je lirika našla svoj klimaks u pejzažima, harmoniziranim i jedinstvenim Wiesnerovim sonetima. To je život u košnici, deputacija k seoskim tornjevima, muzika sjenâ zastora i zvončići neba. Drukčija je arhitektura stihova Polića – Kamova. Njegova čitava knjiga, pa da je napisao i deset knjiga, sve bi to šumilo pritajenim orkanom, vrludavim strujama, razbješnjelim valovima jedne jedine pjesme, jednog jedinog stiha. Jedan njegov sonet nosi teret jedne jedine riječi i cijela je ta lirika ispravno okrštena štipajem. Da se jasnije izrazim: nije uzor-pjesnik, ne ulazi ni u koju antologiju, nije akademik i deklamator. Ovo nisu stihovi za recitaciono veče. Do smiješnosti katkad subjektivan, personalan do ekstrema uvijek, smatra knjigu vulgarnom i formalnom ispovijedaonicom, gdje je on, autor, i ispovijednik i griješnik, a čitaoci sveta inkvizicija. Ta je ispovijed zaglušni krik, od kojega će puknuti bubnjić u otmjenom uhu g. Popovića ili će pozliti ciklamskom Domjaniću.

Progonio ga je ovijek onaj krvavi, neboderni krik Marijev iz Tragedije mozgova: Probudite se živ u grobu! – kojim je zanosno i uhodrapateljno završio i Psovku. Ta grozna, strašna i crvljiva vizija, ta Poe-ova romantična i groteskna senzacija provlači se cijelom ovom lirikom, koja se nikad i nikad ne odmara u sjeni vrbinih pramenova i koja nikad ne ugleda kućnog praga obećane hemlje. Bez doma. Bez domovine. Bez ičesa. Bez korijena. Bez sidra. Ukleti Holandez. Jedna neugašena, žedna i bijedna želja, čežnja za eksploziom, za praskom, za gromom, za požarom, za provalom vulkana. Sve to bez futurističkih snobizama. To su pupoljci na majskoj, procvjetaloj svrži otrovanog, prokletog bilja, a prsnuvši, cijedi se iz njih paklena, crna i crvena smola. Odatle i indignacia ondašnje publike, te sitna, sita i žabarska psikaše nad ovim prvijencem čistog, nelicitarskog srca gospodina Bosjaka, koji ostade uvijek Gosparom. Ista nabikulenska i dembelska čeljad prošla je cinički, triumfatorski povrh umornog i viteškog srca Lazara Heine-a, te u smrtnom hropcu žali, što čovječanstvo nema jedne glave, pa da mu pljune u lice crnu, mrtvačku pjenu.

Prem nije poznavao Heine-a, nabasat ćemo često u Ištipanoj hartiji na čisto hajneovske šlagere, koji imadu katkad onu ženskiju od ženâ ciničku zlobu, ujed i frivolnost. Primjerice pjesma pod mističnim naslovom P. S. ima intonaciju, kao i ugođaj autora Buch der Lieder. I u Novoj proljeti kao i u „Mrtvoj Diani” viri ovaj umorni, žalosni i ružni žalac:

„Sjećaš li se? Nova proljet ponijela me k našoj klupi,
po kojoj su sjele sjene:
oličiše novom bojom i nasuše gustim pijeskom
sve što bješe uspomene.
A meni se nešto misli nasmijava crnim mozgom
ko kad jesen lišće mota
i pomišljam, bogzna tko će, da se tvoga hvata pasa
da te ‘nako opet smota!
O, ne drhti! Nije prezir! Negda bijah — znaš me dobro —
preko tebe težak i ja!
A sad možda kumpanija, da, i cijela regimenta
nije teška kad te svija!“
(Nova Proljet)

Svinjarija! Kaj ne? Praštajte, gospodo suci, moraliste, bašibozuci i eunusi! I Magdalena je griješna, a Polić-Kamov oprao je taj cinizam životom i jednom od svojih najumornijih, najljepših nostalgičnih pjesama Kitty. Ovi su nedelikatni, soldački stihovi skrojeni prokletstvom i nije nikad ružan onaj, koji diše previše iskreno. Taj cinik nije, nije cinik, jer je prošao kalvariju srca i pakao duše.

Ta drhtava, razderana i carmenska muzika ponoćne pohote ne zna za blage i tople nijanse pastela i akvarela, jer se ruši u nekom divljem i crnom prahu beskonačne disharmonije, koja je vrlo daleka od drakonskih zakona gospodina Bacha, Johana Sebastiana. Što bi bilo od njega, da ga poznavaše Skerlić, koji je onako po prstima lupio Pandurovića i jadnoga Disa, inače dvije blage i mirne dušice.

Kad danas, nakon deset i više godina listamo tu krajnju ljevičarsku i mladenačku liriku, posrtavamo svakim stihom u ovoj današnjoj blaženoj i učmaloj, selendarskoj monotoniji. Ovi krvavi trzaji, i one crne strofe tralaliču u pijanom i nakvašenom ritmu jedne ognjene konjice, poput đavolje fuge sa bezbroj temata u vječnoj, nezadovoljenoj stretti. Jedno more žeđi. Jedan bezdan prošnja. Flauta i fanfara. Prokletstvo i šumski mir. Tonika i povećana kvarta. Evo, kako zvoni tišina u ovom labirintu:

„A glava bukti i polijetava k’ zidu,
da tresnem njome! . . .
Svet, svet je prasak, a blagosloven Gospod
u miru svome!“
(U mrtvoj noći).

On ne zna za mistiku i u noći ne vidi modru boju violončela, oboe i šumskog roga. Ne sjeća se zelenih, dubokih tišina, a mliječni, vitorogi mjesec izaziva kod njega persiflažu simbolskih i samotnih Vrbanićevih jablanova:

„U toj tmini sovuljastoj ko da lažni privid gaca
i sa sjena bezdušnijeh religije usne krive —
i u gluhu atmosferu umišljene dogme baca,
jablanovi strše u vis ko mesnate duše žive“.
(U nagonu).

Jedna negacija cijele naše lirike. Tamo od Vidrića, Dučića, Rakića, pa preko Wiesnera, Ujevića do Krleže, Šimića, Vinavera i Crnjanskog.

Kad se pojavio, bilo je u troimenom narodu duhovitih danguba, koji udariše u beskonačne burgije, neshvativši, šta više, ne pročitavši tu osebujnu i nikad neepigonsku liriku. Svaka se, pa i najboija stvarca dade izvrći ruglu, a tadanje Zeuse fejtona zbunila je i preplašila ta kuštrava. neelegantna i neštucana prilika, koja je svakom zgodom istupila smjelo, bez rukavica i bez hrizanteme u zapučku.

Bujnost, organsku cjelinu svog pjesničkog izraza kvario je često hotice i znalice nesklapnim stilističkim šiljcima. Vikao je, urlao, zaglušno, nenaštimano pjevao, bančio i strahovao u nekom herostratizmu, koji nikad i nikad nije bio poza ili gesta. Jezik, stil, tradicija, dikcija, Kosovo, Petrova gora, Croacija i t. d. bijahu mu stafažom za nemoćnike, a glupost što urla od Triglava do Vardara, slušao je u Torinu, u Barceloni, u Zagrebu i u Rimu: jer svijet je jedan. Prsnuše okviri Hrvatske, puknut će i remenje Jugoslavije, jer svijet je i opet jedan. Duša, koja živi, ne mari naći Nirvanu u drevnoj Heladi ili na tavanu kakve kamene kućice u Puntu, na otoku Krku.

Ne priznavaše a priori čistoću, plemenštinu i sigurnost stiha. Sveta Jednostavnost je njemu kao i Janu Husu znak gluposti i zlobe. Porušivši arhitekturu stiha, gubi akademsku vedrinu čiče Emersona i poeziju zdravlja, nacije i pobjede. Za Vidovdanski hram ne mari. Klasična, zvučna linija postala je bog te pita što. Ta je plamena lirika daleko od svih dobroćudnih, poltronskih forma; pa ipak je Polić-Kamov uzajmio od Dante-a tercinu, a od ostalih sonet i oktavu, valjda za to, jer ga je privlačila diabolika Dantea, Rinascimenta, papâ i kršćanskih perverziteta.

Poput Ahasvera ne zna za mir i dobrotu i ljepotu i taj čovjek morade umrijeti mlad — kao kaplja — jer je ritam svojih nerva našao u burnom udaranju bȉla, te najnormalnije udaraše stoičetrdeset puta u minuti.

(Svršetak u drugom broju).

Nikola Polić

Cradles of European Culture

cradles of cultureI am extremely proud to have been involved in the Cradles of European Culture project which involves nine of today’s European countries, which during the Early Middle Ages were part of the Kingdom of Francia Media (Middle Francia). The very impressive publication Swords, Crowns, Censers and Books is a contribution to this important project published by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka and edited by Marina Vicelja-Matijašić. Over 432 pages it details many archaeological sites and investigations throughout Europe, including the important Croatian site of Crkvina – Biskupija near Knin. I worked as the language editor on the English texts provided for the book by contributors from all over Europe.

The Stepfather and the Bastard – novel translation

stepfather and the bastard‘The Stepfather and the Bastard’ by Aleksandra Hampamer (original Croatian language version ‘Očuh i kopile’) is the latest book by this author from Čakovec. I am very happy to have translated this novel into English.

This is a harrowing story about the life of a young girl, Aiya, and an old lady, Tara. While Aiya suffers beatings every day from her stepfather, Tara tells healing tales that help her and many others to overcome the fear and loneliness can be present in any family behind closed doors. After many years the two old friends meet when Tara is nearing the end of her life. Told through the autobiographical narrative of the author’s childhood, the tales speak of a battle against domestic violence, and shed light where darkness blocks the way of love and the courage for change, forgiveness, compassion and support.

This is the first novel that I have translated and I am glad to have had the chance to be involved in such a brave, heartfelt and touching story.

The book is available via Amazon, as a Kindle edition here: ‘The Stepfather and the Bastard’

Der Stiefvater und der BastardI am very honoured to have had my English translation used as the basis for the German language edition ‘Der Stiefvater und der Bastard’, which was translated by Annika Rathjens. It is also available on Amazon here.

Kisha – the umbrella you’ll never lose

I’m very proud to have been involved in the world’s first Bluetooth technology umbrella, developed in Rijeka.

The hi-tech, top-quality umbrella has an in-built chip which uses Bluetooth technology to connect to an app on your smart phone. In this way it will alert you if you walk away or forget your umbrella wherever you are. Plus it also gives you the weather forecast so you’ll know whether to take your Kisha umbrella with you when you go out.

kisha_app It has been developed by a team in Rijeka and I helped them with the English language of their app, website and supplied the voice-over for their promo youtube video above. 🙂

Psst! If you were wondering why they chose the name “Kisha” – in Croatian the word (spelt “kiša” and pronounced “kisha”) actually means “rain”. 😉

kisha_openAll the info, how to order an umbrella and download the app is on their website here

Kisha umbrella survives the Adriatic’s infamous “bura” wind in Rijeka harbour:

Kisha umbrella test in Poland:

 

Feral Tribune – book summary

Boris Pavelić Smijeh SlobodeThe book ‘Smijeh slobode – uvod u Feral Tribune’ (‘The Laughter of Freedom – an introduction to the Feral Tribune’) by Boris Pavelić describes and explains the 25 year old cult political-satirical newspaper the ‘Feral Tribune’, based in Split. It was published from 1983-2008 in various forms and billed itself as a “weekly magazine for Croatian anarchists, protesters and heretics.”

feral tribune

A typical front page of the Feral Tribune

The publication won international awards in the 1990s but slowly went out of circulation – this book studies the history and value that it had and still has in modern-day journalism.

The book is only available in Croatian and I translated the summary into English. It is hardback, has 688 pages and its ISBN: 978-953-219-492-0.

It is published by Adamić d.o.o. and is available in shops and via the publisher’s website here: http://shop.adamic.hr/index.php