Macedonian writers -- Vlada Urosevic

Vlada UrosevicBorn in Skopje in 1934. Studied literature at Skopje University, where he works as a full-time professor at the Department of General and Comparative Literature. Numerous volumes of poetry, short stories, and literary criticism. Author of several anthologies. His works have been translated into Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, French, and Polish. He has translated over 30 titles from Macedonian into Serbian and Croatian and some 20 from the other languages of former Yugoslavia and from French into Macedonian. Winner of numerous prizes.

His poetry has a wide range and a consistent sense of style. His verse bears the mark of a hard structure, which makes him a difficult poet to quote in detail; the whole poem is often what makes the point, not the individual images.


Emptiness gave birth to the sea snail.
The sea snail to the volcanic island.
The volcanic island to the crested lizard.
The crested lizard to the Milker of the Clouds.
The Milker of the Clouds to the Honey Thief.
The Honey Thief to the Builder of Cities.
The Builder of Cities to the Tax Collector.
The Tax Collector to the Destroyer of Fortresses.
The Destroyer of Fortresses to twenty thousand tanks.
The twenty thousand tanks were barren
and couldn't give birth to anything.
And so once more emptiness settled in,
wondering if there was any point
in starting all over again from the beginning.

Descent to the sea

The Slavs, driving down
to the south, towards Ulysses' fatherland,
encountering something that slumbered
blue like a magnet, stunning and frightening,
came across an old man who was carrying
an oar on his shoulder and asked him: Isn't this
a flail for grain? Tiresias
(for that's who he was) stopped;
although he understood
the talk of the birds, although
he had lived the life of a man and the life of a woman,
he had lived seven times,
seven lives,
was confused. Blind, extending his hands in greeting,
he said: Traveller, are you returning again?
But those who had asked
were already far away, shouting,
like once the Ten Thousand:
"Thalassa! Thalassa!"
but in another language.

Fatal misunderstanding

This is some film.
This must be some film,
otherwise how could there be
so many red-headed women,
so many beautiful landscapes
and so much killing?
But what am I looking for inside
and how have I turned
into a person
who is being chased
and who
in the end

Forbidden zone

We're going where it is forbidden to go.
Terrible punishments threaten us.
Though they aren't specified.
We creep through empty yards,
Past abandoned building sites, then past houses
which only have façades
behind which stand household items
as if for decoration.
We cross the line.
Just then one of us stumbles,
making a lot of noise, raising
a huge hullaballoo
under the embankment.
from the darkness in which they had lurked,
the guards are laughing.
We too are laughing,
even though we don't know what will happen next.