Radomir Andrić

Selected Poems

ISBN: 978-0-939378-15-9


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Radomir Andrić

Radomir Andric Radomir Andrić was born in 1944 in Ljubanje, near Užice. He finished high school in Užice as well as Kruševac, and graduated from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade. More than 40 of his poetry books have been published so far, among them: Sunce u vodenici, Večernji krčag, Šumska crkva, Karpatsko umiljenije, Bunari Radoša Modričanina, Svane li, Neustuknica, Često rušena kućo, Kakva počast, Ispod snega, Zgon, Noćni plivač, Vučica na prtini, Rujno, Čarno dleto, Rumunska ikona, Isto i obrnuto, Pohvala smehu, Večera na savskoj lađi, Beli izvor, Poleteše ptice lastavice, Zarno vitlo, Ka drugosti, Ključne kosti, Sanopis vode, U palati pravde, Svikavanje na levitaciju, Osim jedne stvari…;

He is the author of a few books of poetry for children: Čavke postoje zbog slova Č, Pod zlatnom leskom, Pitalica sa Zvezdare, Kozje grozje, Izmišljotina, Ptičje mleko, Gledalice; also, he is the editor of many anthologies, selections of poems, literary magazines, and other cultural publications and radio programs. His literary work has been translated into English, Russian, French, Romanian, Macedonian, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Polish, Azeri, Belarus, Greek, Bulgarian, Slovak, and other languages. Radomir Andrić received a significant number of Serbian as well as international awards for his literary accomplishments and great contribution to culture.

To mention but a few: Rade Drainac, Isidora Sekulić, Milan Rakić, Nagradu Kruševca, Belovodsku rozetu, Zlatni Orfej, Neven, Ravaničanin, Filip Višnjić, Oktobarsku nagradu Beograda, Zlatni beočug, Zlatnu značku KPZ Srbije, Povelju Morave, Prsten despota Stefana Lazarevića, Vitezovu nagradu, Srboljub Mitić, Vitez poezije Čajetine, Povelju Karađarđe, Pečat kneza Lazara, Paun Petronijević, Jefimijin vez, Vukovu nagradu, Vasko Popa… He is a member of the ASLA Academy (Oradea, Romania), Slavic Academy of Literature and Art (Varna, Bulgaria), Mediterranean Academy “Brothers Miladinovci” (Struga, Macedonia), and a member of honor of numerous literary associations worldwide. Radomir Andrić is the president of the Association of Serbian Writers. He lives in Belgrade and, as he himself often says, many a place at the same time.


During summer, still a high school student, led by his phantasmagoric pen, amid the hot asphalt of Belgrade, I’ve seen nothing less than the famous wells of Radoš from Modrica village. Following the murmuring trail of self-willing and almost threateningly tempting water poetics, I’ve peeped inside the carefully hidden “secret script” – the high order organized by eternal unity of every beginning and ending, as much as by preternatural paradox from which we emerge and in which we submerge ourselves, following the flows of cosmic energies past comprehension – undeniably omnipresent, yet indisputably beyond our reach. That very summer, under the hat tipped slightly to the side, I came across this unusually quiet Mr. Andrić.

Until autumn, I restlessly attempted to recognize how he manages to “sing best of what” he himself finds “we lack most.” Reading day after day, I wondered how an experience of such immediacy and vividness can be an illusory one by nature, and I couldn’t get past the impression that Andrić (whom his long-term friends called Rocko in honor of the madly unrestrained youth’s accomplishments) could pull his every longing, as well as those of the readers, straight out of his hat with ease of an experienced grandmaster.

The whole winter had passed before I found out that under that very hat – the official and seemingly distant president Andrić, calm Radomir of lucid expression and well known Rocko whose steps, it seems, every path and home joyously recognize, were united as one. Three more winters have flown by in my everyday contemplating and reencountering with him and his verse, critical reviews, notes, and speeches until a pair of sky-blue eyes staring far beyond every horizon of expectations appeared under that astonishing hat along with Raša who, as well as his art, “decided being on familiar terms with me.”

This “familiarity,” exactly, is in my belief of key value to the translator, for without it, she/he (as well as every reader) could easily be following the wrong traces, which would inevitably lead to misinterpretation, despite the restless contemplative efforts. It seems that, only by carefully following the trails of Andrić’s poetics in whole, can the translator access a single poetic cycle and be sure that he transferred the poem from one language to another completely, as would be the case with some sort of a fluid, not losing even the slightest “drop” of sense nor distinctly Andrić’s metrics and specific versification rules which gave form to previously mentioned sense thus ennobling it.

The act of translating depended in many a way on the degree of skill and the ability to recognize the exquisite opalescence under Andrić’s hat in worlds familiar and merely sensed, the worlds yet to come and those inner ones, nevertheless undeniably possible and present in his poetics. This was, once again, enabled by the ability of this fine author to unexpectedly and paradoxically, in every moment and many a language, recognize “which suit suits him best” with astonishing appropriateness, thus breathing life into distinct Andrićisms in which the author himself continues to live. Hence, it is with great pleasure we strive to find Andrić’s traces leading to one another as if they were mirror reflections and unite them all under his hat.

Joy on this path to recognition multiplies as we find that the artistic spirit of untamable water we meet in “The Wells of Radoš Modričanin” finds its complement and reflection in the creative spirit of inextinguishable fire, more than present in the cult verses “I took the Sun to the mill / to grind the fire / for I have no wheat.” Exactly these verses are capable of bringing to light the spirit of tradition in total – tradition without which the utterly modern poetics of Radomir Andrić wouldn’t exist as such.

However, once we reveal one thing, we usually have to question the other – Does our contemporary Andrić really grind fire of the very Sun, or is in fact the fire restlessly grinding this literary all timer until our very days? The answer might lie within the poems constituting some of his latest poetic accomplishments, within roots of “His ancestors’ tart biography,” for Sun, being Andrić’s “close, yet completely defamiliarized relative,” manages to survive under gusts of “merciless winter” and endure the whips of “incorruptible wind” that howls throughout the whole poetic cycle with which I dealt.

Translating Radomir Andrić is an attempt which requires that the flame (inherent in given verses) of the Creator’s Sun that once set fire even to Phoebus’ forehead be preserved – fire capable of melting the snowdrifts of harsh criticism, burn, yet never burn through the author nor the strangely familiar otherness within the inner immeasurable mirror of which we don’t speak, not even at minus twenty and more degrees Celsius, for it is the subject of hardly comprehendible self-talk without the final conclusion to his eternal seek.

Complete comprehension (in any language), if we can even speak of such, depends solely on the individual reader’s ability to reflect upon the blue secret scripts somewhere above the hills of Ljubanje, gazing into the depths behind the eyes of a child seeking for an interlocutor. It is only left for the translator to wonder which path shall lead to that one thing hidden under the hat of Radomir Andrić.

By Nina Simić