Remnants of Another Age
Published by Bloodaxe Books
Translated by Peggy Reid, Graham Reid, Magdalena Horvat & Adam Reed.
Bilingual Macedonian-English edition.
Macedonia's Nikola Madzirov is one of the most powerful voices in contemporary European poetry. Born in a family of Balkan War refugees in Strumica in 1973, he grew up in the Soviet era in the former Republic of Yugoslavia ruled by Marshall Tito. When he was 18, the collapse of Yugoslavia prompted a shift in his sense of identity – as a writer reinventing himself in a country which felt new but was still nourished by deeply rooted historical traditions. The example and work of the great East European poets of the postwar period – Vasko Popa, Czeslaw Milosz, Zbigniew Herbert – were liberating influences on his writing and thinking.
Remnants of Another Age, his first book of poetry published in English, is introduced by Carolyn Forché, who writes: 'Madzirov calls himself "an involuntary descendant of refugees", referring to his family's flight from the Balkan Wars a century ago: his surname derives from mazir or majir, meaning "people without a home". The ideas of shelter and of homelessness, of nomadism, and spiritual transience serves as a palimpsest in these Remnants' – while Madzirov himself tells us in one of his poems, 'History is the first border I have to cross.
''Arresting, enigmatic and mysterious in the great Eastern European tradition' – Simon Armitage.