Ivan Šamija

- Croatia -

Ivan Šamija was born in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1976. By now he has published two poetry collections: Kupolenebo (AGM, Zagreb 2003) – later republished as an E-edition (DPKM 2006) – and the very recent Projekt Poljska (Meandrarmedia, Zagreb 2014). He is a member of cultural NGO “Brutal”, within which he is taking part in organization of “Brutal” international poetry festival, which since 2006. annually host young, mostly European poets in Zagreb. His poetry was published in various magazines in Croatia and beyond, as well as translated in couple of foreign languages. Scientist by vocation, he is employed as a molecular biologist. Lives and works in Zagreb.

Šamija’s first publication, Kupolenebo, was one of many poetry debuts in the early ’00s that, in its own manner, merged the experiences of the “signifier tradition” inbreeded with explicit intertextual and intermedial practices of Quorum magazine bound generation and earlier experiences of “ semantical concretism” with newly introduced (or better, rediscovered), at the time very popular “neorealistic” or “urban realism” matrices, brought to prominence by still rather visible debuts of Tatjana Gromača, Drago Glamuzina, Krešimir Pintarić and others. Mostly shorter, dense poems offered sparkling juxtaposition of the “low” and “transparent” discourse of intimacy, emotional turnovers and everyday life and language with an abstract, sophisticated imagery heavily relied upon the vocabulary of the contemporary science.


Ten years later, in Projekt Poljska, Šamija – according to the critics successfully – turned to the prose poem form. In it the author tried “to achieve, by means of creating a distance towards the ‘topic’ of the texts (distance which would equal the space of work in language and the poetical imagination), a greater communicability, greater sincerity of my poetry.”


Using highly refined, “obscure”, neatly rhythmical language heavily relied upon the “good old” metaphor, Šamija created an exciting, enchanting book-length para-narrative consisted of recurring light-motives mostly connected to the element of Soil, a four season spanned “story” that offers a dream-like construction of an imaginary “Poland”, as Michaux’s Land of Magic. Šamija’s Poland has, of course, much more to do with Bruno Schulz, Witold Gombrowicz or Czesław Miłosz than with politically or geographically bordered – contemporary nor historical – Poland itself. This subtle poetical dedication, we believe, goes as one of the most interesting poetry books of younger authors recently published.