July 25, 2014
Ivan Slamnig [Croatia)
Poet, story teller, dramatist, literary theorist and translator, Ivan Slamnig was born in 1930 in Metković. He died in 2001 in Zagreb. Slamnig has been described as one of the most innovative and unpredictable poets of the 1980s.
Slamnig studied at the Arts’ Faculty in Zagreb from 1949 to 1955. He was a university lecturer at the Arts’ Faculty in Zagreb and he translated literature from English, Russian, Italian and Swedish, and translated many world classics and a number of books by contemporary authors. He completed several valuable anthologies such as Antologija hrvatske poezije, od najstarijih zapisa di kraja XIX stoljeca (An anthology of Croatian poetry, from the earliest period to the end of the 19th century) and Antologija hrvatske poezije XVII stoljeca (An anthology of Croatian poetry beginning with A. Kacica Miosica to A. G. Matosa. He also wrote plays, essays and scientific books.
Slamnig was certainly one of the most innovative and unpredictable poets of the eighties, a writer who enjoyed toying with slightly whimsical poetic conventions. He also explored the bizarre and, in several of his poems from the fifties, the spiritual. His early poems are gems of imagism. An autobiographical element appears more evident in his later fiction and poetry. In his best work the robust comic energy is combined with elements of pathos. His work also includes fiction, plays and essays.
The poet became a seminal writer of the 1980s who started his literary career in the 1950s, publishing poems, essays and translations in an influential literary magazine entitled Circles (Krugovi). Slamnig’s authentic poetic vision survived into the nineties..
His death was a heavy blow for Croatian writers, who enormously admired him. His work is full of literary allusions and brilliant elements of pastiche, was greatly admired even by ordinary people for his humor and love of the everyday.
Slamnig also was a remarkable novelist, with his novel The Better Half of Courage winning a place in the Croatian graduate school literature program. The development of the Croatian post-modern novel owes much to the pioneering work of Slamnig, even though he did not continue with fiction.
—Based on comments by Sibila Petlevski
BOOKS OF POETRY:
Aleja poslije svecanosti (Zagreb, 1956); Odron. Land-slide (Zagreb, 1956); Naronska siesta. (Zagreb, 1963); Limb. Limbo (Zagreb, 1973); Analecta (Zagreb, 1971); Pjesme (Zagreb, 1973)
Dronta (Zagreb, 1981); Izabrana djela (Zagreb, 1983); Relativno naopako. (Zagreb, 1987); Sed schole (Zagreb, 1987); Sabrane pjesme (Zagreb, 1990); Ranjeni tenk (Zagreb 2000).