The current New York Review of Books includes Radmila Lazic’s “Psalm of Despair.” She was born the same year I was. I would like to write a poem about despair myself. On a long, dark, cold night it caught my mood perfectly.
My reading of Serbian novels is now expanded by a poet I hadn’t known. I wonder what Zarko knows about her? Thinks about her work? Lazic’s A Wake for the Living, translated by Simic, was published by Graywolf Press in 2003. I once wrote Simic and asked if he would translate Zarko’s half of our Repetitions (available HERE). He sent back a nice note of praise for the text and lamented that he didn’t have time for the project. Fortunately, Ivana Djordjevic was available and produced a lucid translation.
What an unlikely, unexpected, and productive connection to Serbia Zarko has provided and provoked over what are now three decades.