Tomica Bajsić

- Croatia -

Tomica Bajsić was born in 1968. in Zagreb, Croatia. Poet, prose writer, graphic artist and translator. He studied for three years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Author of four poetry collections, two books of prose, and a picture book for kids. Translator and editor of four international poetry anthologies. Twice awarded with national awards for poetry, Goran for young poets, and Dobriša Cesarić prize. His poetry and prose pieces are translated into many languages. He worked also in the fields of restoration, illustration and graphic design. He is an editor for poetry in translation in Croatian Poezija magazine and founder of Druga priča Design & publishing. He serves as general secretary of Croatian PEN Centre and vice president of Croatian Writers Society, as well as Croatian coordinator of the lyrikline network.  


BOOKS PUBLISHED: Južni križ / Southern Cross, poetry ( Goranovo proljeće, 1998., translated to Slovene in 2014 by Ivan Dobnik) Pjesme svjetlosti i sjene / Songs of Light and Shadow, poetry (AGM, 2004.) Dva svijeta i još jedan / Two Worlds & One More, travelogue (Naklada Ljevak, 2007.) Ana i vila Velebita / Ana and the Velebit Fairy, drawings and story (National park Velebit 2007.) Pobuna obješenih / Mutiny of the Hanged, poetry (Fraktura 2008.) Zrak ispod mora / Air Beneath the Sea, poetry (Biblioteka nagrade Dobriša Cesarić 2009.) Amazona diše / Amazon breathes, text and photographs, 2015. Nevidljivo more / The Invisible Sea, poetry and drawings, scheduled for publishing 2017.


AS TRANSLATOR (SELECTED): Španjolske pjesme ljubavi i progonstva / Spanish Poems of Love and Exile, selection, essays and translation (DHK, Zagreb, 2002.) Sve do srca svijeta / To the Heart of the World, poetry of Blaise Cendrars, selection, introduction and translation (MD, Zagreb, 2003.) Južna pošta / Southern Mail, traveling through the poetry of Southern America, translations and essays, (HDP Croatian Writers Society, 2009.) UREZI Antologija svjetske poezije o ratu, represiji, ropstvu … / Anthology of World Poetry about War, Repression, Slavery … publisher, editor and one of the translators (Druga priča 2010.) Blaise Cendrars, Poezija, život i djelo /  Blaise Cendrars, Poetry life and work, (Druga priča 2015.) publisher, editor and poetry translator. 

The basic direction, or location, of Tomica Bajsić’s poetry can be found on that dynamic intersection between high modernism and postmodern textual strategies and practices. It seems paradoxical that Bajsić started his poetic machine for creating consecutive eternity in an environment which mostly denies such an eternity – that is, in the midst of a personally experienced reality of war. But it is as though that reality infuses every living moment with an exceptional quality and intensity of a death delayed or overcome. With that intensity, Bajsić has, ever since the Southern Cross book, written poems with a strong vitalistic element about even the worst events from the war. His oeuvre contains some of the most authentic Croatian poetry written about the war since it is in no way declarative, and thus it is able to present war in its completely tragic nature. His poetry confronts war on both the poetic and human level, and it overcomes it with the intensity of the moment inscribed within the contemporary lyrical poetry despite the thorough destruction. The rawness of the real material, which Bajsić uses to build a fantasy of combined poetic worlds, enables the poet to speak directly about something which would otherwise be perilous for the very nature of poetry. Bajsić remains direct, as he was with the topic of war, when it comes to commenting on controversial political and existential topics, such as the communist heritage, Yugoslav history, the Croatian War of Independence, the criminal economic transition and privatization, the arrogant political and tycoon elite and the impoverishment and “the breaking” of the “losers” during the transition.

              Critics have declared him “one of the most authentic contemporary Croatian poets” whose “first book was the most authentic anti-war testimony about the war experienced first-hand” (Delimir Rešički); “with a strong poetic voice whose books do not follow the generationally dominant neorealist matrix, but rather approach a fantastic linguistic cosmogony in their narratives” (Katarina Mažuran); and “a poet of a universal humanism and belief in the healing power of an artistic undertaking as was not seen to date in Croatian poetry” (Damir Šodan). The poet himself ascribes poetry with a self-sufficient emancipatory power: “even though poetry is one of the oldest human means of expression, the honesty of poetry needs to be defended as you would defend a young child from violent cousins or a corrosive society. To use art in the service of a political or some other interest group is a negation of art itself – it loses its credibility since it is reduced to a militant careerism where the goal justifies the means.”