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, Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert – were liberating influences on his writing and thinking. The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel compared the quality of his poetry to Tomas Tranströmer's. There is a clear line from their generation, and that of more recent figures like Adam Zagajewski from Poland, to Nikola Madzirov, but Madzirov's voice is a new 21st century voice in European poetry and he is one of the most outstanding figures of the post-Soviet generation.
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.
'Madzirov's poems are like Expressionist paintings: filled with thick, energetic streaks they seem to emerge from the imagination and to return to it right away, like night animals caught in the headlights of a car. "We are the remnants of another age" – Nikola Madzirov succeeds in convincing us' – Adam Zagajewski.
'He is a truly exceptional poet of great lyrical depth, purity, insight and originality. I am certain that he is one of the great European poets of our generation… His poetry has some parallels with major philosophical/contemplative poets like Mark Strand and Louise Glück, but is rooted in a Balkan sensibility of dispossession and woundedness, and is more intimate and emotionally affecting (his poems make me feel at once happy and sad, like all the best poetry…)' – Kapka Kassabova.
'Madzirov created loud silence. He brought back the space and peace to the power. There are times (now) when we long after exactly this kind of purity' - Tomaz Salamun.
'Nikola Madzirov's poems move mysteriously by means of a profound inner concentration, giving expression to the deepest laws of the mind. Their linguistic "making" is informed by a vivid evidence of a serious self-making, soul-making, and heart-making' – Li-Young Lee.
North America: BOA Editions
Nikola Madzirov reads from Remnants of Another Age
Neil Astley filmed Nikola Madzirov reading a selection of poems from Remnants of Another Age after his reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival, on 6 July 2012, following his appearance at Southbank Centre's Poetry Parnassus in London. Here he reads eight poems (asterisked poems in Macedonian after the English translation): 'I Don't Know',* 'Separated', 'Home',* 'After Us', 'Shadows Pass Us By',* 'Before We Were Born', 'Many Things Happened' and 'Fast Is the Century'.