Published by Nine Arches Press
In the shadows of war, loss and longing, a poet seeking his homeland finds his memories and dreams of its distinctive beauty refracted through a second language. These subtle, elusive and potent poems build bridges of imagery and language between the past and present, the lost and found.
"Here is a rich legacy bypassing Milorad's difficult final years. The poems seem driven, necessary; Croatia and its language call him back, his distinctively developed English finds image after pertinent image. The book is a bounty of metaphor as he is led by Moses and by delight and necessity of observation and discovery; the natural world seems to come to him to be named. I wonder if the frequent 'you' is himself or an other - or heightened to an Other - or these variously. I understand from this book that if we do not see, hear, experience in our own truthful way and make poems with the openness of these poems, then in some crucial sense many of the human world's possibilities cease to exist."
"I can't stop reading these poems. This is work of atmosphere and tone first, narrative second, but it's a narrative that combines deep melancholy with a hard-won sense of joy in the slightest shaft of light, and the thought it provokes. At times it's like trying to recall a receding dream or encountering an oracle with an urgent, impossible message for you alone. It's difficult for me to separate the poems from Milorad's generosity, gentleness and intense imagination, and in a sense that doesn't matter as these are so clearly poems by a man who found beauty, saw mystery and took dignity even in confinement."
Milorad Krystanovich was born in 1950 in Dalmatia, then part of the former Yugoslavia. After conflict engulfed the region, Milorad was sent to safety with relations in the UK in 1992. He learnt English and later joined The Cannon Poets, becoming a founder member of Writers Without Borders and an active and well-respected figure within Birmingham’s poetry and writing community.
Hailed by Jonathan Morley in 2007 as “Birmingham’s finest émigré poet”, Milorad’s published work includes three volumes published by Writers Without Borders. Heaventree Press published the bilingual Four Horizons / Četiri Vidika (2005) and, in English, The Yasen Tree (2007). His penultimate volume, Improvising Memory, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2010. Milorad also taught Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian at the Brasshouse Language Centre in Birmingham and wrote numerous plays and novels for children and young people. Milorad Krystanovich was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009 and died in September 2011.