Arts, Culture & Media

The poetry of Radovan Karadzic

This poem was enfolded in a book that was sent to our International Writing Program in the late 1970s, Karadzic clearly wanted to be a part of this program and he sent us a signed copy of this book along with another Serbian writer, we presume. The book was eventually found by a Bosnian student in our program and inside the book was the text of this poem. (Another professor translated the poem for us, and what do you make of the translation?) He's trying to be a serious poet, and with some success. I showed the poem to a colleague in Croatia without telling him who wrote it and he guessed it was from a fairly well known Croatian poet. If he thought it was lousy, I think he would've told me as such. (CM agrees with that interpretation). CM: there is a lot of innovative material in it and that's what's most eerie. There are so many lines that prefigure the worst of what was going to come. (What does �morning bomb� mean to you in the poem?) It reminds me of in Sarajevo during the siege you'd be awakened very early in the morning by what sounded like thunder in the distance but was really artillery fire raining down shells from around the city. (In 1992 you were able to interview Karadzic.) Yes, I met him on New Year's Eve in 1992 when a British filmmaker introduced me to Karadzic as a fellow poet. He was willing to open up to me because I was not a regular journalist. It was strange. (If you had been the Director, would you have welcomed him based on this poem?) Tough question, there's enough interesting material in the poem to think one could be seduced. (What does that tell you about both the person and the process of writing?) Well we hope what survives us is the best of what's on the page but the fact of the matter is a lot of terrible people have written excellent poems and novels. Poets contradict themselves.

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