Vu de Belgrade

My name is Marija – I am a woman. Unfortunately, that fact is very decisive when talking about my country, its culture too. I was born in previous century, in 1963, which means that I am too “experienced” to pay attention on everything that stands CONTRA poetry, art and culture in general, I do notice it, I’ve experienced “on my skin,” as we say here, but am also aware of the fact that I have only one life and I want that life to be “my business” as much as possible. So I write − poetry, essays, stories, novels… and I try to be “tough like a rock” when it comes to what they call “cultural politics.” It’s been never easy (normal) when it is about female authors, which is an contradiction in adjecto since, in my opinion, art DOES NOT have gender, age, race, nationality…

Women intellectuals are discriminated in this environment unless they are someway “close” to the leading men. That is the first obstacle. The second one is what they call politics, although I don’t like to use that word for all kinds of stupid rules and, doing so, to offend the great idea of Aristotle. It is not politics we’re talking about, these are some ridiculous decisions that serve only to the interests of people in power, especially the ones we cannot see, “powerful people in the shadow.”  There a lot of such people in our cultural mechanism. For that reason it is enormously difficult for us who are females and are not “close to the decision makers” to publish a book, to gain some award…. To gain respect!

That is reality. But there is always more than one reality.  More and more important reality to me is the on of my own.  I feel as I suppose Ovid must have felt once banished to Ponto, without comparing my work with his, of course. I want to say that I feel isolated and am coming to believe that maybe an artist should feel that way; maybe it is a natural state of art – “to be somewhere else?” I am focused on the pure beauty of art and the FULFILLMENT I am given by art – focused on that GIFT. I am focused on my “sisters and brothers in arts” and their work that revives me every time I read or see or listen to something that IS art.

Art is a broad notion. As broad as love, this is a synonym for art. It is everywhere; it is waiting to be recognized. It is the beauty of the morning, the beauty of the dawn before that, Aurora, and before her, it is the beauty of that borderline between sleep and realizing that you are awake. Those moments, and “those hours,” as Virginia Wolf noticed it. None can take it away from us, except ourselves.

Finally, we are the ones who make decision.  It is only up to me am I going to write a poem today or not. Or, as a great Serbian poet Laza Kostic put it, “only God and I know something about it.”

A lot of us who have deserve it will maybe never be recognized in our society, not by the people, but by the ones who “stand in front of the people.” Anyway, that is not the reason to give up! In my opinion, it is better to take it as a challenge to dive deeper and deeper into your world, the world of art.


[To be continued (…) ]