Marko Pogačar, poems, short selection





There is nobody in the attic

     I know

above us is a red-hot concrete roof,

a silver support for the sky,

and we don't have an attic at all.

there are so many things

that daily define absence.

    of the attic

   the house

    the world.

the room is strewn with a low sleepy sound

as if dormice sneaked into the attic, however,

          I already said,

there is no attic.

even the coast has left us. the buttresses

betrayed their walls.

tomorrow I’ll make three hundred

postponed telephone calls,

     it’s been a while since I

could stand verbal closeness.

for the fourth time I started

watching Fitzcarraldo. I learned

that ships can be carried across hills

and that it’s not necessary to be defeated

       in order to feel bad,

                   in fact,

rainy days say

     the opposite.

Kinski is best, it seems.

    reels with Jagger speak in broken tongues.

there is no reason for silence

and nobody should be blamed:

I don’t get mail, commercials don’t avoid me,

        (capital is a night-

    cap for the scented

                  hair of the world)

coffee is never hot enough,

neither is information, there is never enough new records

and never enough rustling classics

     all is a gigantic

tepid puddle of anxiety.

things defined by absence mostly scare me.

e.g. loneliness (conditionally)

        religion (and its horrid absence of the other)

death (unconditionally) and all

I could draw from them is momentary love,

a meaning threaded by rain,

    the drop

that makes the glass overflow.

there is nobody in the attic.

there never has been

         anybody in the attic.

there is no attic and everything hung

above our heads is a massive star-lit pendulum,

a cradle of music, a dark

     sheet of sky with which I

cover myself every night when I sleep.









Like half of a peach

in its southern sweetness.

like raspberries, like peas.

a cow mooing

out of the white alliance of bones.

baked beans, earth’s kidneys,

meat for domestic animals.

something that breeds milk

when the roads are distant

and winter righteous and severe.

like fish, ragout, something like that.

we live quietly in the darkness of a tin can

then someone lifts the lid

and lets in sound and light;

there, suspicious white light.









Something is happening, but I don’t know what.

a chest expanding and tightening,

the vein walls constricting, those grooves, glands,

releasing immense bitterness over Zagreb.

that’s what the sky is like these days: a nightmare

without a bit of holiness. a sketchbook in which many things

have and have not been drawn, the rustle

of millions of legs on the move.

nightmare, voices repeat, nightmare

you repeat. the sharp stripes down which

rain descends into its ruts; fingernails, surely fingernails.

leaves tied around wrists, because it’s autumn and these things

painlessly pass. water is boiling

in pots. dogs blossom black. those who approach me

approach the blunt evil: nightmare, I repeat,

nightmare, they repeat. the entire sky has

huddled into the clavicle, and in the sheer noise

no one can hear each other. everything’s new, and everything’s foul,

everything in Zagreb. eyes, plates, things

across which we look at each other. all holy, all sharp

all dogs, all our dense voices. the speech

of a city eager to bite, pine trees, a flock, something

in the air, under the ground, in the walls; something

above us and somewhere else. something is happening,

I don’t know what.









The first Croatian president is slaughtered by oblivion

his junta by too hot soup and the dead waiters

who now ignore them; as I walk the city in the opposite

direction of death, as I buy newspapers, buy coffee at

a kiosk, I listen to my belligerent charm, to my soft character

and Haustor, the band; an average Croat is slaughtered by co-existence,

tolerance, with his mouth full of snow– wide and light smog eases

down on him and takes him, together with all that fall, its

morning dark, with water that rises up along your neck,

water, material and soft; the church is slaughtered by constant quoting

of Christ, by love, unconditional and lasting; a pig disappears on its

own, cowers, into a puddle of breath, into a fistful of blood flowing

before experience; a poem is slaughtered by Drago Štambuk; a mother

as some detailed records describe; nothing remains nothing

that shiny scorched sun.









Honey melts in tea, completely, unlike you with serious music,

and unlike me in you, 


the tense wire of the never-ending call, a crowded bar,

no place for you, and the elevators that are always broken,


the stairs unfold into eternity, like conversations about politics,

and just as someone notices that totalitarianism and democracy


are only a question of numbers, someone pulls the plug,

the picture disappears and everything starts again: voices


leaking trough walls, and evening falls into your hands, like a miner

descending into his pit, yet still, the shoes left at the door


prove the living exist. but what does it mean to live

as winter comes scrolling like cold breath out of your throat,


and builds its nest in the dark alphabet; all those hurried unknown

people with familiar names, an afternoon split in two, like Korea;


the tea and honey have already melted, inseparable,

and this viscous liquid is love: how do I get to you; how do I reach you?










Serpents silent in walls. the walls in serpents are

none: bare bone, flesh,

and venom in the bone and the flesh, venom

which eye by eye brings the world into silence.


where such numb dripping occurred there are no

crowded bars, stairways, bureaucrats,

hens that whisper come and take me, take me with your teeth, come,

take me in silence.


the world is a goldfinch. the thinnest black glass.

a pistil which, like a coin heated red hot on a hood of an enormous

black harvester, burns my eyes, and that white,

like the back of a girl whom I watched from behind


while she dug through her heart forgetting it all, the white space,

on this and that side of a tongue. serpents silent in walls.

Jews are waiting for the prophet. a song seeps out of the speakers, dead

hens whispering come and take me, take me with your teeth, come, take me in silence.


the world is a goldfinch, a black glass; you the awaited one.







How to climb the olive tree with those little claws,
stay a black lizard and survive the sun’s collapse?
every olive is an extinguished star,
and little claws are all we own.

and that’s the secret of gravity, the disappearance of light that swings
condensed in our metal bodies.
our claws are our vanity, the father shakes them off
the laced balcony curtain with a wave.

the world is the giant pedicurist Milena, she eradicates them with a safe hand,
she sings o sole mio, our claws are an over-ripe, naked beauty
love is our debt to the dead.




Translated by Dunja Bahtijarević, Tomislav Kuzmanović, Kim Addonizio, Anthony Mccann, Dona Massini




Rebecca Duran's Take on Modern Day Life in Pazin (Istria)

Croatia is a small, charming country known today as a prime European tourist destination. However, it has a complicated often turbulent history and is seemingly always destined to be at the crossroads of empires, religions and worldviews, with its current identity and culture incorporating elements from its former Communist, Slavic, Austrian-Hungarian, Catholic, Mediterranean, and European traditions.


Review of Dubravka Ugrešić's Age of Skin

Dubravka Ugrešić is one of the most internationally recognizable writers from Croatia, but she has a contentious relationship with her home country, having gone into self-exile in the early 90s. Her recently translated collection of essays, The Age of Skin, touches on topics of of exile and displacement, among others. Read a review of Ugrešić’s latest work of non-fiction, expertly translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac, in the link below .


Vlaho Bukovac Exhibition in Zagreb Will Run Through May

Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922) is arguably Croatia's most renowned painter. Born in the south in Cavtat, he spent some of his most impressionable teenage years in New York with his uncle and his first career was as a sailor, but he soon gave that up due to injury. He went on to receive an education in the fine arts in Paris and began his artistic career there. He lived at various times in New York, San Francisco, Peru, Paris, Cavtat, Zagreb and Prague. His painting style could be classified as Impressionism which incorporated various techniques such as pointilism.

An exhibition dedicated to the works of Vlaho Bukovac will be running in Klovićevi dvori Gallery in Gornji Grad, Zagreb through May 22nd, 2022.


Review of Neva Lukić's Endless Endings

Read a review of Neva Lukić's collection of short stories, Endless Endings, recently translated into English, in World Literature Today.


A Guide to Zagreb's Street Art

Zagreb has its fair share of graffiti, often startling passersby when it pops up on say a crumbling fortress wall in the historical center of the city. Along with some well-known street murals are the legendary street artists themselves. Check out the article below for a definitive guide to Zagreb's best street art.


Beloved Croatian Children's Show Professor Balthazar Now Available in English on YouTube

The colorful, eclectic and much beloved Croatian children's cartoon Professor Balthazar was created by Zlatko Grgić and produced from the late 1960s through the 1970s. Now newer generations will be able to enjoy the Professor's magic, whether they speak Croatian or English.


New Book on Croatian Football Legend Robert Prosinečki

Robert Prosinečki's long and fabled football career includes winning third place in the 1998 World Cup as part of the Croatian national team, stints in Real Madrid and FC Barcelona as well as managerial roles for the Croatian national team, Red Star Belgrade, the Azerbaijani national team and the Bosnian Hercegovinian national team.


Sandorf Publishing House Launches American Branch

Croatian publishing house Sandorf launched their American branch called Sandorf Passage earlier this year.


Jonathan Bousfield on the Seedy Side of the Seaside

From strange tales of mysterious murders to suspected criminals hiding out to scams, duels and gambling, Opatija, a favourite seaside escape for Central Europeans at the turn of the last century, routinely filled Austrian headlines and the public's imagination in the early 20th century.


Review of new English translation of Grigor Vitez's AntonTon

Hailed as the father of 20th century Croatian children's literature, Grigor Vitez (1911-1966) is well known and loved in his homeland. With a new English translation of one of his classic tales AntonTon (AntunTun in Croatian), children around the world can now experience the author's delightful depiction of the strong-minded and silly AntonTon. The Grigor Vitez Award is an annual prize given to the best Croatian children's book of the year.


The Best of New Eastern European Literature

Have an overabundance of free time, thanks to the pandemic and lockdowns? Yearning to travel but unable to do so safely? Discover the rhythm of life and thought in multiple Eastern European countries through exciting new literature translated into English. From war-torn Ukraine to tales from Gulag inmates to the search for identity by Eastern Europeans driven away from their home countries because of the economic or political situations but still drawn back to their cultural hearths, this list offers many new worlds to explore.


More Zagreb Street Art

Explore TimeOut's gallery of fascinating and at times thought-provoking art in the great open air gallery of the streets of Zagreb.


Welcome to Zagreb's Hangover Museum

Partied too hard last night? Drop by Zagreb's Hangover Museum to feel more normal. People share their craziest hangover stories and visitors can even try on beer goggles to experience how the world looks like through drunken eyes.


Jonathan Bousfield on the Future as Imagined in 1960s Socialist Yugoslavia

How will the futuristic world of 2060 look? How far will technology have advanced, and how will those advancements affect how we live our everyday lives? These are the questions the Zagreb-based magazine Globus asked in a series of articles in 1960, when conceptualizing what advancements society would make 40 years in the future, the then far-off year of 2000. The articles used fantastical predictions about the future to highlight the technological advancements already made by the then socialist Yugoslavia. Take a trip with guide, Jonathan Bousfield, back to the future as envisioned by journalists in 1960s Yugoslavia.


Untranslatable Croatian Phrases

What’s the best way for an open-minded foreigner to get straight to the heart of another culture and get a feel for what makes people tick? Don’t just sample the local food and drink and see the major sights, perk up your ears and listen. There’s nothing that gives away the local flavor of a culture more than the common phrases people use, especially ones that have no direct translation.

Check out a quirky list of untranslatable Croatian phrases from Croatian cultural guide extraordinaire, Andrea Pisac, in the link below:


Jonathon Bousfield on the Museum of Broken Relationships

Just got out of a serious relationship and don't know what to do with all those keepsakes and mementos of your former loved one? The very popular and probably most unique museum in Zagreb, the Museum of Broken Relationships, dedicated to preserving keepsakes alongside the diverse stories of relationships gone wrong, will gladly take them. Find out how the museum got started and take an in-depth look at some of its quirkiest pieces in the link below.


Cool Things To Do in Zagreb

Zagreb is Croatia’s relaxed, charming and pedestrian-friendly capital. Check out Time Out’s definitive Zagreb guide for a diverse set of options of what to explore in the city from unusual museums to legendary flea markets and everything in between.


Jonathan Bousfield on Diocletian's Legacy in Split

Diocletian’s Palace is the main attraction in Split, the heart and soul of the city. Because of the palace, Split’s city center can be described as a living museum and it draws in the thousands of tourists that visit the city annually. But how much do we really know about the palace’s namesake who built it, the last ruler of a receding empire? Jonathan Bousfield contends that history only gives us a partial answer.


The Poetry of Zagreb

Cities have served as sources of inspiration, frustration, and discovery for millennia. The subject of sonnets, stories, plays, the power centers of entire cultures, hotbeds of innovation, and the cause of wars, cities are mainstays of the present and the future with millions more people flocking to them every year.

Let the poet, Zagreb native Tomica Bajsić, take you on a lyrical tour of the city. Walk the streets conjured by his graceful words and take in the gentle beauty of the Zagreb of his childhood memories and present day observation.


You Haven't Experienced Zagreb if You Haven't Been to the Dolac Market

Dolac, the main city market, is a Zagreb institution. Selling all the fresh ingredients you need to whip up a fabulous dinner, from fruits and vegetables to fish, meat and homemade cheese and sausages, the sellers come from all over Croatia. Positioned right above the main square, the colorful market is a beacon of a simpler way of life and is just as bustling as it was a century ago.


Croatian Phrases Translated into English

Do you find phrases and sayings give personality and flair to a language? Have you ever pondered how the culture and history of a place shape the common phrases? Check out some common sayings in Croatian with their literal translations and actual meanings below.


Discover Croatia's Archaeological Secrets

Discover Croatia’s rich archaeological secrets, from the well known ancient Roman city of Salona near Split or the Neanderthal museum in Krapina to the often overlooked Andautonia Archaeological Park, just outside of Zagreb, which boasts the excavated ruins of a Roman town or the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, Vinkovci.


Croatian Sites on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

A little know fact is that Croatia, together with Spain, have the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO, and Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.


Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is one of those things which always finds its way to every visitor’s busy schedule.


Zagreb's Street Art

So you're visiting Zagreb and are curious about it's underground art scene? Check out this guide to Zagreb's street art and explore all the best graffiti artists' work for yourself on your next walk through the city.


Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

Authors' pages

Književna Republika Relations PRAVOnaPROFESIJU LitLink mk zg